UPDATE: Vikings DE Griffen remains out with mental health trouble

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) celebrates a sack on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) during the first half of an NFL divisional football playoff game in Minneapolis, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

'Scary incidents' on Saturday puts player out indefinitely.

Posted: Sep 25, 2018 6:22 AM
Updated: Sep 25, 2018 8:35 PM

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — Last week, the Minnesota Vikings were concerned enough about Everson Griffen's state of mind that they barred the three-time Pro Bowl defensive end from practice until he had a mental health evaluation.

After a scary series of incidents on Saturday, Griffen remained away from the team on Tuesday and out of action indefinitely. Coach Mike Zimmer said Griffen would not travel with the team to play the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday.

"The only thing we really are concerned about for Everson isn't anything to do with football. It's about him getting better," Zimmer said.

"In the five years that I've been here I've always loved Everson and the effort that he puts out, the work that he does, the chance to count on him in game time and even in practice. He's always been a really, really good model for us, and obviously he's going through some tough times now."

Griffen was already going to miss the game last Sunday against the Buffalo Bills because of a nagging issue with his knee, but even without the injury he was in no condition to play.

According to police in Minnetrista, the Minneapolis suburb where he lives, Griffen was making comments about people trying to kill him. He was eventually transported by ambulance to an area hospital for his well-being, despite jumping out of the vehicle at one point during a brief stop for crossing deer. He was never arrested or suspected of committing any crimes.

"I just hope for the best for him," Zimmer said. "In the long run he's a really good kid."

According to the police report on Saturday:

— Vikings director of security Kim Klawiter requested a welfare check for Griffen's wife, Tiffany, and their three children after a recent pattern of erratic and disruptive behavior at team headquarters had caused concern. Griffen had arrived for practice that morning and was told he couldn't participate.

— Officer Michael Kokesh met with Griffen's wife, who told him that Griffen got up in the middle of the night on Sept. 16 and left the house, which he has done before in attempt to deal with "demons in his head." Griffen was gone for several days during the week, at one point sending his wife a text message that referenced suicide. He's not on medication, she said, but should be.

— Reached by Kokesh on his phone, Griffen said he had no thoughts about harming himself or anyone else.

— Kokesh spoke with Vikings executive director of player development Les Pico, who said Griffen had been exhibiting paranoid behavior and irrational and rapid speech but did not believe he was at risk for harming himself or others. Pico met Griffen at a downtown Minneapolis hotel, where he had also created a disturbance in the lobby and threatened violence.

— Griffen showed up shirtless outside the house of teammate Trae Waynes, who lives on the same street. A little later, Griffen left his vehicle at a gas station and rode home with a man who said he didn't know Griffen and was shaking when he met officers waiting outside Griffen's house.

— After Griffen agreed to the hospital visit, officers summoned by paramedics after the stop for the deer found him walking on the side of a county road. Griffen told them he was afraid "someone was going to shoot him." The officers convinced him to return to the ambulance and lie down on a stretcher inside.

Asked if he believed the Vikings did enough to ensure Griffen received a psychiatric evaluation, Zimmer said that wasn't his area of expertise. He did, however, praise the organization's approach to providing off-the-field support for any life situation.

"Our owners do an unbelievable job of giving these players all the resources that they need. If we have to bring in experts from some other place or he has to go see other people, our owners are outstanding with that," Zimmer said.

"So we're going to do everything possible that we can, not only for Everson, but to help everybody on our team and, quite honestly, with their families as well."

Stephen Weatherly has taken the 30-year-old Griffen's place in the starting lineup. Their cubicles are next to each other in the locker room.

"It's tough. I would much rather have him here, not only as a teammate but as someone that I lean on personally and stuff like that," Weatherly said. "But we're going to continue to play hard, and we're going to do it for him."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 62993

Reported Deaths: 1731
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin19873842
Ramsey7827270
Dakota4610106
Anoka3841115
Stearns292820
Washington222748
Olmsted179123
Nobles17777
Scott163422
Mower11112
Rice10468
Blue Earth9465
Wright9185
Carver8993
Clay79440
Sherburne75310
Kandiyohi7141
St. Louis62120
Todd4302
Lyon4263
Watonwan3671
Freeborn3611
Nicollet35613
Steele3562
Benton3253
Winona26616
Beltrami2640
Crow Wing25214
Le Sueur2301
McLeod2240
Martin2105
Chisago2091
Goodhue2059
Otter Tail2044
Cottonwood1780
Becker1621
Pipestone1589
Polk1564
Waseca1561
Carlton1470
Itasca14612
Douglas1442
Isanti1370
Unassigned13546
Dodge1310
Pine1290
Murray1251
Chippewa1171
Morrison941
Wabasha930
Brown922
Faribault920
Meeker872
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Cass802
Jackson790
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Mille Lacs733
Fillmore720
Renville675
Lincoln610
Grant563
Swift561
Roseau530
Yellow Medicine530
Pope480
Houston450
Aitkin411
Norman400
Kanabec372
Redwood370
Hubbard360
Wilkin353
Marshall290
Wadena280
Mahnomen271
Big Stone250
Red Lake240
Lake220
Stevens180
Clearwater140
Traverse130
Lac qui Parle80
Cook50
Lake of the Woods40
Kittson30

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 50230

Reported Deaths: 955
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10612210
Woodbury377052
Black Hawk320066
Linn245689
Johnson213820
Dallas193235
Buena Vista180012
Scott176815
Dubuque173431
Marshall145627
Pottawattamie136729
Story118915
Wapello93435
Muscatine86048
Webster8498
Crawford7393
Cerro Gordo65617
Sioux6533
Warren5861
Tama55729
Jasper48427
Wright4821
Plymouth47912
Clinton4344
Dickinson3844
Louisa37814
Washington30510
Boone2723
Franklin25512
Hamilton2551
Bremer2337
Clarke2063
Clay2021
Carroll2012
Des Moines1992
Emmet1934
Shelby1881
Hardin1860
Marion1830
Floyd1673
Benton1621
Jackson1601
Poweshiek1608
Allamakee1584
Mahaska14217
Henry1404
Guthrie1385
Buchanan1351
Cedar1351
Jones1352
Butler1312
Lee1294
Madison1282
Hancock1242
Humboldt1241
Delaware1231
Lyon1232
Pocahontas1212
Harrison1131
Cherokee1101
Clayton1093
Winneshiek1021
Page1000
Taylor1000
Iowa981
Kossuth970
Mills941
Monona920
Winnebago920
Palo Alto910
Fayette900
Calhoun872
Cass871
Jefferson870
Sac860
Osceola850
Grundy831
Union811
Mitchell800
Monroe758
Lucas734
Worth680
Davis612
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Appanoose523
Howard510
Fremont450
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Keokuk401
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Ringgold231
Wayne211
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