The Vikings placed defensive end Everson Griffen on the reserve/non-football illness list to address his mental health, the team announced Friday. The move comes two days after an incident at Griffen's home in which the veteran pass-rusher posted videos of himself acting erratically while holding a gun and summoned police to his home early Wednesday morning. Later on Wednesday, Griffen exited his home without incident and was transported to a mental health facility.
According to the Minnesota Public Safety Department, Griffen said on the call that someone was inside his home and that he needed help from the police. Griffen told the dispatcher that he fired a weapon but no one was injured. There were also several troubling posts involving Griffen -- including a video of Griffen holding a gun -- had been posted on social media. In cooperation with law enforcement, the Vikings had team representatives and mental health professionals on-site at Griffen's home. Law enforcement had been engaging in ongoing communication with Griffen since around 7 a.m. after he refused to leave his home.
Later Wednesday, the team said Griffen "came out of his home without incident and is now getting the care he needs."
"We are thankful to the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, the Carver County Sheriff's Office, the Minnetrista Police Department and the Orono Police Department for their quick response and dedication to ensuring the situation ended peacefully," the team said in a statement. "Our focus remains on Everson's health and safety and providing the proper resources for him and his family."
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer started his press conference by addressing Griffen's situation. When asked about Griffen's possible status for Sunday's game against the 49ers, Zimmer said "that's not our concern right now," according to ESPN's Courtney Cronin. Zimmer said that he was made aware of the situation regarding Griffen between 2 and 3 in the morning.
"Their family is our family," said GM Rick Spielman during a press conference held Wednesday afternoon regarding Griffen's situation. "It's important at this moment to respect the health, the safety and the well-being of everyone that is involved in this situation. I know he's receiving the care and the support he needs along with his family."
Griffen took time away from the Vikings in 2018 to work on his mental health. He returned to the Vikings this season after spending the 2020 season with the Cowboys and Lions. The 33-year-old has spent 11 of his 12 NFL seasons with the Vikings, who selected him with the 100th overall pick in the 2010 draft.
A four-time Pro Bowler, Griffen was named a team captain prior to Zimmer's second season as the Vikings' head coach in 2015. Griffen has 85.5 career sacks (five in 2021) that include a career-high 13 during the 2017 season.
In a corresponding move, the Vikings signed DE Tashawn Bower off the Patriots' practice squad and added him to the 53-man roster. Bower broke into the NFL with the Vikings in 2017 as an undrafted free agent out of LSU. He was released midway through the 2019 season before joining the Patriots.