Everson Griffen

Everson Griffen

refer to caption

Griffen with the Vikings in 2012
No. 97Minnesota Vikings
Position: Defensive End
Personal information
Date of birth: (1987-12-22) December 22, 1987
Place of birth: Avondale, Arizona
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight: 273 lb (124 kg)
Career information
High school: Avondale (AZ) Agua Fria
College: USC
NFL Draft: 2010 / Round: 4 / Pick: 100
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
High school
Career NFL statistics as of Week 13, 2016
Total tackles: 226
Sacks: 46.0
Forced fumbles: 7
Fumble recoveries: 4
Interceptions: 1
Defensive touchdowns: 2
Player stats at NFL.com

Everson Griffen (born December 22, 1987) is an American football defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League. He was selected in the fourth round and 100th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft after playing college football at USC. A graduate of Agua Fria High School, Griffen was the highest-ranked prospect to come out of the state of Arizona since Terrell Suggs, whom he idolized growing up.[1] He has been described as “one of the rare physical freaks that come around only once in a blue moon”.[2]

High school career

Griffen attended Agua Fria High School in Avondale, Arizona, the same high school as Vikings Hall of Famer Randall McDaniel. At Agua Fria, Griffen played as a defensive lineman and running back. As a junior, he rushed for 794 yards on 142 carries for eight touchdowns, and had 12 receptions for 168 yards and one 71-yard reception where he outraced everybody for a score.[1] On defense, he was double and triple-teamed but still managed 47 tackles, five sacks and three fumble recoveries. In his senior year, Griffen recorded 77 tackles, 16 sacks and a fumble recovery as a defensive end and ran for 1,251 yards on 159 carries (7.9 avg.) with 20 touchdowns and had 6 receptions with 2 TDs as a running back. His 2006 senior season honors included Super Prep Player of the Year, Scout.com Player of the Year, Parade All-American, EA Sports All-American first team, Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, Scout.com All-American, Lemming All-American, Super Prep Elite 50, Prep Star 100, Rivals.com 100, Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-West, Scout.com All-West, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team, Orange County Register Fab 15 first team, Tacoma News-Tribune Western 100 and Gatorade Arizona Player of the Year.

Also a standout track & field athlete, Griffen was one of the state's top performers in the throwing events. At the 2007 4A I State Meet, he won both the shot put and discus events.[3] He recorded top throws of 17.67 meters (58 feet) in the shot put and 55.11 meters (180 feet, 8 inches) in the discus.[4] Following his junior season, he attended the 2005 Arizona summer camp, where he ran a 4.46-second 40-yard dash at 6-foot-4 and about 260 pounds,[1] which earned him the nickname "The Freak" and led to comparisons to All-Pro defensive end Jevon Kearse.[5] Griffen also earned first-team all-region honors in basketball.


Following his high school career, Griffen was selected to play in the 2007 U.S. Army All-American Bowl along with fellow USC recruits Marc Tyler, Joe McKnight, and Chris Galippo. During the recruiting process, he took official visits to USC, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon, UCLA and Florida before eventually committing to the Trojans on November 24, 2006. Griffen reported a 3.3 core GPA and a 1020 SAT score.

College career

Freshman season (2007)

Griffen after a 2008 preseason fall practice

Griffen had an impressive showing as a first-year true freshman backup defensive end in 2007, playing primarily in pass rushing situations. Overall in 2007 while appearing in all 13 games (2 starts), he totalled 21 tackles, including 5.5 for losses of 30 yards (all were sacks), 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery and 2 pass deflections. He became the first USC true freshman to start an opener on the defensive line in 21 seasons since Tim Ryan in 1986 against Illinois and the first true freshman to start on the defensive line since Shaun Cody did so in 2001 against Utah.[6] In the Trojans' 24–3 victory over Oregon State in week 9, Griffen posted six tackles and a career-high 3.5 of USC's nine total sacks to earn Rivals.com National Freshman of the Week honors. In week 11, he had 6 tackles (with a sack) and a fumble recovery that set up a USC touchdown at Arizona State. For his season efforts in 2007, he was named to the Sporting News Freshman All-American first team, Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-American first team, Rivals.com Freshman All-American first team, Scout.com Freshman All-American first team and Collegefootballnews.com Freshman All-American second team, plus was the Sporting News Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year and was an All-Pac-10 honorable mention pick.[7]

Sophomore season (2008)

In the fall practice before his freshman season, Griffen and veteran defensive end Kyle Moore got into heated competition that culminated with a fight during practice; the two reconciled and are now friends.[8] During spring practices, former USC coach Pete Carroll staged a prank by having the Los Angeles Police Department enter a team meeting and arrest Griffen for “physically abusing a freshman” (Trojans offensive guard Matt Meyer);[9] Griffen was previously aware of the prank.[8]

In his sophomore year in 2008, Griffen was USC's pass rush specialist as a backup defensive end. He appeared in all 12 games (all but Washington State) and started the first 3 games (Virginia, Ohio State and Oregon State) for the Trojans, compiling 18 tackles, including 6 for losses of 43 yards (with 4.5 sacks for minus 39 yards). He had 3 tackles against Oregon State and California and 2 versus Virginia, Ohio State, Oregon and Stanford (1.5 for losses). He missed the Washington State game because he was sick.

Junior season (2009)

On July 4, 2009, at a Fourth of July party on Nantucket island, Griffen and a teammate, linebacker Jordan Campbell, were cited by the Nantucket Police Department for a noise violation; no charges were filed and the two agreed to write a letter of apology.[10]

In 2009, Griffen was second team All Pac-10.


Regular season statistics Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
Season Team GP GS Comb Total Ast Sck Tfl PDef Int Yds Avg Lng TDs FF FR FR YDS
2007 USC 13 2 21 15 6 5.5 5.5 2 0 0 0.0 0 0 2 0 0
2008 USC 12 3 18 11 7 4.5 6.0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
2009 USC 13 11 45 22 23 8.0 9.5 1 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 1 9
Totals 38 16 84 48 36 18.0 21.0 3 0 0 0.0 0 0 3 1 9

Professional career

2010 NFL Draft

After USC's 24–13 victory over Boston College in the 2009 Emerald Bowl, Griffen announced he would forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the 2010 NFL Draft.[11]

External video
Griffen runs the 40 at his Pro Day
Griffen gets drafted by Minnesota
Pre-draft measurables
Ht WtArm lengthHand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
6 ft 3 38 in 273 lb32 58 in10 in 4.59 s 1.63 s 2.66 s 4.36 s 7.25 s 34 in 9 ft 7 in 32 reps
All values from NFL Combine and Pro Day[12]

At the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine, Griffen (who measured at 6'4", 278-lb) put on a show, running an electronic-timed 4.66 in the 40-yard dash and bench-pressing 225 lbs 32 times. His 40 time was second among defensive lineman, while his 32 reps were tied for sixth-best. Entering his Pro Day workout as one of the most scrutinized prospects in the NFL Draft, Griffen lived up to his nickname as "The Freak," posting a 34-inch vertical jump, 9-foot-7 broad jump and 40-yard dash time of 4.59 seconds, though some scouts had his second run as low as 4.46.[13]

Minnesota Vikings

Griffen was selected by the Minnesota Vikings with the 2nd pick in the 4th round of the 2010 NFL Draft, becoming the 100th player selected overall.

2010 season

Aaron Rodgers sacked by Griffen.

After being inactive for the opening 5 games of the season, Griffen played in the final 11 games, finishing his rookie year with 11 tackles, all of them solo. He posted a season-high 5 tackles against the Green Bay Packers in week 11. On January 28, 2011, Griffen was arrested in Los Angeles for public intoxication. Three days later, he was arrested again after he was found driving with an invalid drivers license. He then tried to flee on foot only to be tased.[14]

2011 season

In his second season, Griffen played in all 16 games for the Vikings, mostly on special teams as a gunner on punt coverage at times as well as serving as a regular on return units, helping the Vikings special teams unit set a team record with a 26.9 kickoff return average for the season and tied for 1st in the NFL with 4 kickoff returns of +50 yards. His 4.0 sacks on the year ranked 4th on team and contributed to the Vikings 50.0 total sacks on the season, tied for 1st in the NFL. His 18 special teams tackles ranked 2nd on the team behind team-leader Eric Frampton, who posted four more. In week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he notched his first career sack when he brought down quarterback Josh Freeman.

2012 season

After a quiet performance early in Griffen's third year as a pro, he came on strong late in the season, posting 5.0 sacks, 1 interception returned for a TD and 16 QB hurries in the final 7 games. His first sack of the year came in week 2 as he brought down Andrew Luck for a 22-yard loss against the Indianapolis Colts. It was the third-longest sack in team history. On October 11, 2012, Griffen was given an indefinite leave from the team after his mother died.[15] In week 15 against the St. Louis Rams, Griffen scored his first career touchdown on his first career interception, taking to the house a Sam Bradford pass 29 yards for the score in a key victory for the Vikings' playoff chances. His 29-yard interception return TD ranks as the 4th-longest in Vikings history by a defensive lineman. The following week, he earned his first career start at Houston, finishing the game with a solo tackle. On December 30, he posted a career-best 3.0 sacks against Green Bay in the regular season finale win over the Packers that gave the Vikings a playoff berth. He had a tackle and a sack in his playoff debut at Green Bay in the 2012 NFC Wild Card game.

2013 season

Griffen rushing Jay Cutler.

In 2013, Griffen was used all over the defensive line, playing in all 16 games with no starts. He finished the year with 5.5 sacks, including 2.5 in the final 2 games of the regular season. On September 29, he recorded the game-winning strip-sack against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL International Series game at London. In week 2 at Chicago, he tipped a Jay Cutler pass that led to a Kevin Williams interception in the endzone for a touchback. He recorded a season-best 6 tackles and tied a career-high with 3.0 tackles for loss in a loss against the Cincinnati Bengals. He ended the season with 27 tackles (18 solo), 5.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

2014 season

On March 9, 2014, Griffen re-signed with the Vikings on a five-year contract worth $42.5 million, including $20 million guaranteed.[16] He enjoyed a breakout season in his first year as a full-time starter, helping the Vikings revamped defense have the most improved defense in the NFL. He started all 16 games after entering the season with one start in his first four seasons with the Vikings. On October 19, Griffen had a career day against the Buffalo Bills in week 7 when he recorded a career-high 9 tackles and tied a career-high with 3.0 sacks. He was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month in October after recording 6 sacks and a forced fumble in just four games. In week 13 against the Carolina panthers, Griffen returned a Jasper Brinkley blocked punt for 43 yards for a touchdown, making it the longest blocked punt returned by a Vikings player in franchise history. Griffen ended his breakout season with 57 combined tackles (41 solo), one forced fumble, one blocked punt for a touchdown, three passes defensed and a career-best 12 sacks, which led the team and tied for ninth-best in the league.

2015 season

On October 18, 2015 Griffen missed the game against the Kansas City Chiefs due to an illness.[17] Griffen was selected as the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for week 17, becoming the third Vikings player to win the NFC Defensive Player of the Week award in 2015, joining nose tackle Linval Joseph and cornerback Terence Newman. In the game, Griffen registered two sacks, including one that forced a fumble by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers that Captain Munnerlyn returned for a 55-yard touchdown in the Vikings' 20-13 win; in addition, he also added four quarterback hits and six tackles, three of which were for a loss. Griffen ended his second year as a starter tied for fourth in the NFC and twelfth in the league with 10.5 sacks, becoming the first player in a Mike Zimmer defense ever to record double-digit sacks in back-to-back seasons (he had 12 in 2014). On January 14, Griffen was picked to take the place of Houston's defensive end J. J. Watt in the 2016 NFL Pro Bowl, marking his first career invitation to the annual showcase game in Hawaii.

2016 season

On September 18, Minnesota opened their new stadium with a win against division rival Green Bay Packers and Griffen contributed with a sack and a forced fumble. In the Vikings' upset of the 1-1 Carolina Panthers in Week 3, Griffen tied a career-high with 3.0 sacks for losses of a combined 37 yards as the Vikings sacked Cam Newton a total of eight times, which tied the team's third-highest total in a road game and was the most since 2003.[18] On September 28, Griffen was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week, joining John Randle and Chris Doleman as the only Vikings defensive linemans to win a Defensive Player of the Week Award in consecutive seasons.[19] In the Vikings' 31-13 win over the Houston Texans in Week 5, Griffen sacked Brock Osweiler two times, but both sacks were negated due to penalties.

Minnesota Vikings franchise records


Regular season statistics Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
Season Team GP GS Comb Total Ast Sck Sfty PDef Int Yds Avg Lng TDs FF FR FR YDS
2010 Minnesota Vikings 11 0 11 11 0 0.0 -- 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
2011 Minnesota Vikings 16 0 21 15 6 4.0 -- 2 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 1 0
2012 Minnesota Vikings 16 1 26 23 3 8.0 -- 2 1 29 29.0 29 1 1 2 0
2013 Minnesota Vikings 16 0 27 18 9 5.5 -- 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 0 0
2014 Minnesota Vikings 16 16 57 41 16 12.0 -- 3 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 0 0
2015 Minnesota Vikings 15 15 44 34 10 10.5 -- 4 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 0 0
2016 Minnesota Vikings 12 12 40 30 10 6.0 -- 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 2 1 0
Totals 102 44 226 172 54 46.0 -- 11 1 29 29.0 29 1 7 4 0



  1. 1 2 3 Crabtree, Jeremy (2006-06-07). "Griffen the Great". Rivals.com.
  2. Crabtree, Jeremy (2007-02-08). "Pac-10 Signing Day Blitz: Ranking each conference team's 2007 recruiting class". Sports Illustrated.
  3. "4A I State Meet". Arizona Milesplit. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  4. "Everson Griffen". trackingfootball.com. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  5. "Scout.com: Everson Griffen Profile". Recruiting.scout.com. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
  6. Ted Miller, Griffen ready to leave his mark on Pac-10 QBs, ESPN.com, May 2, 2008, Accessed May 4, 2008.
  7. Griffen Named Freshman All-American
  8. 1 2 Miller, Ted (2008-05-02). "Griffen ready to leave his mark on Pac-10 QBs". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2008-05-04.
  9. Coach Carroll's April Fool's Joke on YouTube
  10. Ted Miller, Clearing up the details of the Griffen 'legal' issue, ESPN.com, July 9, 2009, Accessed July 9, 2009.
  11. Hiserman, Mike (December 26, 2009), "USC's Everson Griffen says he's turning pro", Los Angeles Times
  12. "Everson Griffen Combine Profile", NFL.com, retrieved March 4, 2010
  13. "2010 USC Pro Day Recap". Scout. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  14. "Everson Griffen arrested twice in three days". Yahoo! Sports.
  15. "Minnesota Vikings excuse Everson Griffen after mother's death". NFL.com. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
  16. "Everson Griffen gets $42.5M deal". ESPN.com. March 9, 2014.
  17. http://espn.go.com/blog/minnesota-vikings/post/_/id/15863/de-everson-griffen-illness-inactive-for-vikings
  18. Griffen's Relentlessness Helps Pass Rush
  19. Everson Griffen Wins NFC Defensive Player of the Week
  20. "Everson Griffen Stats". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 8 September 2014.

External links

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