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Everson Griffen says that he’s not returning to Minnesota

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The longest-tenured Viking will be moving on

Wild Card Round - Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The longest-tenured member of the Minnesota Vikings will be wearing a different uniform when the 2020 NFL season gets underway.

In a post on his Instagram account, defensive end Everson Griffen has announced that he will not be returning to the Vikings for an eleventh season with the team.

The message reads:

When I came to Minnesota as a fourth-round pick out of USC, I had no idea how much my life would change over the next 10 years. I realized my dream of playing in the NFL, went to four Pro Bowls and came within one game of playing in the Super Bowl in front of the best fans in the country. More importantly, I became a husband, a dad, and met teammates who became brothers for life. I also stumbled a few times on my journey and could not be more grateful for the unconditional support and love I received from SKOL Nation. While it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye, I leave Minnesota in the best physical and mental shape I have ever been and have many Pro Bowl seasons to come! Wherever my next stop is, I will always be grateful to and cheering for the Vikings. Thank you all for the love, support and memories.

Griffen was the Vikings’ fourth-round pick (#100 overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft after playing his college football at the University of Southern California. He played sparingly during his first couple of seasons, mostly on special teams, but started to come on in 2012, finish his season with three sacks of Aaron Rodgers in the Vikings’ “win or go home” regular season victory against Green Bay.

When Jared Allen departed for Chicago in 2014, the Vikings responded by giving Griffen a big five-year, $42.5 million deal, which was considered a pretty significant risk for a player that had only started one game in his first four seasons. Since that time, however, Griffen has established himself as one of the NFL’s best pass rushers, making the Pro Bowl four times (2015, 2016, 2017, 2019).

Griffen concludes his Vikings career with 74.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, two interceptions, and two defensive touchdowns.

It’s going to be strange not seeing #97 out there for the Vikings in 2020, but that’s the way things work in the National Football League, unfortunately.

Here’s wishing for the best for Everson Griffen going forward, wherever he lands. . .except, of course, when he plays the Vikings.