The Minnesota Vikings will get one of their best players back on Wednesday. The Vikings announced on Tuesday that defensive end Everson Griffen, who has been away from the team while receiving treatment for mental health issues, will return to team activities this week.
Both Griffen and general manager Rick Spielman released statements regarding Griffen's absence and return.
Earlier this season, Griffen was taken by ambulance to a mental health facility after a series of bizarre events. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported the following at the time:
Griffen's wife said her husband "awoke in the middle of the night on Sept. 16 and left the home" and that Griffen does that "at times when he is fighting 'demons' in his head." Griffen came back home on Wednesday and then left until Saturday.
Some of the details provided by Griffen's wife are extremely bizarre and concerning. From the Star-Tribune:
- Police learned from Vikings player development director Les Pico that Griffen "has been really struggling for the past few weeks," the police reports read. Pico said Griffen "has been explosive, screaming and yelling" at practice, the reports continued. Pico called Griffen paranoid and prone to repeating himself.
- Griffen's wife then called and said he was at teammate Trae Waynes' home down the road. Griffen was trying to break in, had jumped through bushes and was shirtless. Within minutes, Griffen's wife notified police that he was in a pickup truck with someone who didn't know what to do with him. The man had encountered Griffen at a gas station, and delivered him home.
- Police met Griffen outside late Saturday afternoon, and he was making comments about "777" — having to do with angels — and that he went to Waynes' home because "God made me do it."
Griffen was not arrested or accused of a crime, but was said to be was "increasingly paranoid and feared someone was trying to kill him in the weeks and days" ahead of the incident. Griffen has been away from the team while receiving treatment over the past four weeks, something that came as a comfort to some of his teammates, per the Star-Tribune. "When the situation with Everson came up, we knew he was in tremendous hands," fellow defensive end Stephen Weatherly said recently.
Griffen is one of the best players in the NFL at his position, and assuming he is in condition to play both physically and mentally, the Vikings should benefit greatly from his return to the fold.