Mike Zimmer says Everson Griffen won't return to Vikings until at least Week 6
The veteran defensive end said this week he's dealing with 'personal issues' but promised to return
Asked by reporters Friday whether Griffen could be back at practice with the Vikings this week or in the week leading up to the team's Week 5 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, he simply said, "No."
Griffen, who's in his ninth season with the team, was deactivated for Minnesota's Week 3 loss to the Buffalo Bills after missing practice with a knee injury. Zimmer announced a day later that Griffen's absence had to do with "a personal matter," and a Star Tribune report then revealed concerning details of the defensive end's temperament -- namely police finding that Griffen was "growing increasingly paranoid and feared someone was trying to kill him" before he made alleged threats of his own at the Minneapolis hotel.
Griffen has since acknowledged the concerns, posting on Friday a statement to Instagram, where he apologized for his absence, promised to "return as a much-improved person and player" and vowed to resolve "personal issues with which I have been dealing for a long time."
A three-time Pro Bowler who led the team with 13 sacks in 2017, Griffen has not missed more than one game since 2010, his rookie season, and he signed a four-year contract extension with Minnesota just a summer ago.
The veteran's off-field issues have been ongoing for weeks, however, according to the Star Tribune.
Vikings player development director Les Pico said in an incident report cited by the Tribune that Griffen "has been really struggling" and "has been explosive, screaming and yelling" as well as paranoid and repetitive at practice this year. Griffen's wife, Tiffany Brandt, also told police that her husband had been awaking in the middle of the night and leaving the house, at one point "trying to break in" to teammate Trae Waynes' home down the road while shirtless. He was not arrested when found at the Minneapolis hotel Saturday.
The Vikings, meanwhile, have pledged their support of Griffen during his indefinite absence.
"The only thing I'm really concerned for Everson about isn't anything to do with football," Zimmer said earlier in the week. "It's about him getting better."
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