Griffen is no longer considering re-signing with the Vikings, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports. Griffen's agent released a statement saying "We have broken off talks with Minnesota because they have to spend their money elsewhere and we decided to now focus our attention on free agency." After having spent his entire NFL career with the Vikings, the veteran defensive end will now look to bring his talents elsewhere. Griffen has notched at least 40 total tackles and eight sacks in five of the last six seasons.
Coach Mike Zimmer suggested Griffen could re-sign with the Vikings, Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Griffen exercised an opt-out clause in his contract last week, realizing that a $12.9 million cap hit without any salary guarantees would leave him vulnerable to being released at a later date. The Vikings are optimistic they can work out a deal with a lower cap hit and also some form of protection for the 32-year-old defensive end. Griffen has spent his entire pro career in Minnesota.
Griffen has exercised the right to opt out of his current contract, Courtney Cronin of ESPN reports. Griffen met multiple performance thresholds in 2019 that opened the door for him to opt out, and a source ultimately told ESPN that the veteran lineman intends to do so. While the 32-year-old was a key piece of the defense last year with 41 combined tackles and eight sacks through 15 games, he would have represented a potential $12.9 million cap hit for 2020, which could have resulted in him being a cap casualty given Minnesota's financial situation (it was projected to be over the cap in double digits).
Griffen has the option to void his contract this offseason, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Griffen signed a four-year, $58 million extension in July 2017, later agreeing to a reduced base salary for 2019. He's now set to enter the second season of the extension, carrying a $12.9 million base salary and $13.9 million cap hit, per overthecap.com. None of the remaining money is guaranteed, so Griffen may decide to void the contract, especially if he's worried the Vikings might release him later in the offseason. The 32-year-old defensive end had 41 tackles and eight sacks in 15 games during the 2019 campaign, adding six tackles and 1.5 sacks in two playoff appearances. His 24 QB hits during the regular season tied for 11th in the league, and a 76.0 grade from Pro Football Focus tied for 26th among 108 qualified edge rushers. Even so, the cap-strapped Vikings may consider Griffen expendable, after fellow defensive ends Danielle Hunter (14.5 sacks) and Ifeadi Odenigbo (7.0 sacks) also had impressive seasons in 2019.
Griffen, who posted six tackles and 1.5 sacks over two postseason contests, finished the 2019 season with 41 tackles, eight sacks and two pass breakups over 15 regular-season games. The 32-year-old defensive end finished second on the team in sacks behind Danielle Hunter (14.5), while third-year pro Ifeadi Odenigbo wasn't far behind with seven. Griffen averaged 57.5 defensive snaps per contest, and he'll be a starter again in 2020. He has three years remaining on his contract.
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