Everson Griffen missed Sunday’s surprising 27–6 home loss to the Buffalo Bills due to “a personal matter,” according to Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer. According to a report from ABC 5 Eyewitness News, the personal matter was a strange episode at the team’s Minneapolis team hotel Saturday that involved Griffen pacing the lobby and threatening to “shoot someone.”
According to the report, at one point staff members moved to the back of the office while Griffen paced around in the lobby.
Police dispatch audio archived online includes a dispatcher saying that the suspect said to the staff that if someone wouldn’t let him in his room that he was going to shoot someone. Police said no gun was ever seen.
At one point, the report said the caller stated that Griffen threatened to assault staff members and was laying on the lobby floor.
Griffen was reportedly not arrested at the scene after he apparently “left of his own accord,” presumably before police arrived. He was still held out Sunday, and the Vikings are reportedly treating this as a “personal health-related issue,” per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero:
Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen is under hospital supervision after an incident at a Minneapolis hotel on Saturday.
Head coach Mike Zimmer confirmed at a Tuesday press conference that the Vikings ordered Griffen to undergo a mental evaluation in a letter sent to Griffen and his agent.
According to Deadspin, which posted a copy of the Minnetrista, Minn., police report detailing the incident, Griffen leapt out of an ambulance on his way to the hospital for the evaluation.
“I just hope for the best for him,” Zimmer said. “In the long run, he’s a really good kid.”
The Vikings have not identified specifics of any ailment or mental disorder Griffen has or is being treated for at this time, only saying he’s going through “a tough time.”
The Minnetrista police report said members of the Vikings organization felt Griffen was acting out of anger and erratically. Family members told police they feared for their safety and for Griffen’s, detailing what one acquaintance described as a nervous breakdown.
Zimmer said he hasn’t talked to Griffen since the Week 2 overtime game at Green Bay. He said he was uncertain whether the team offered additional resources to Griffen beyond demanding an evaluation before he returns to the team facility.
Zimmer said the Vikings will rely on their support system in place but added ownership has approved Griffen working with outside experts if necessary.
“Obviously, he’s been a really good model for us, and he’s going through a tough time right now,” Zimmer said.
ESPN reported Tuesday that Griffen was “getting assistance on personal matters.” The NFL is aware of Griffen’s status and is “comfortable he has a good support system around him,” ESPN reported.
According to a police incident report, authorities from the Minneapolis Police Department were called to Hotel Ivy on Saturday because an individual was threatening to shoot someone if he wasn’t allowed in his room. ESPN reported that though the name on the report is redacted, Griffen is the individual in question.
The Vikings play in Los Angeles against the Rams on Thursday. Zimmer said the team will leave Tuesday after practice based on studies the team did on adjusting to the Pacific time zone.
“Our guys really care and love Everson,” Zimmer said Tuesday. “They also understand they have a job to do.”
Zimmer said Griffen was ruled out of Thursday’s game because of a knee injury and wouldn’t have been able to play regardless of other issues.
“It’s about him getting better. In the five years I’ve been here, I’ve always loved Everson,” Zimmer said.
Police reported to the hotel Saturday at 1:30 p.m. when a call taken by dispatch from the hotel reported a suspect had said “if someone doesn’t let him in his room he is going to shoot someone.”
No weapon was found and Griffen was allowed to leave the property, per police.
Griffen, 30, has spent his entire nine-year career with the Vikings. He was arrested twice as a rookie in 2011, once for public intoxication and soon after for allegedly assaulting a police officer during a traffic stop.
The Vikings issued a statement late Monday after reports of Griffen’s health began percolating.
“We are aware of the situation involving Everson Griffen and certainly concerned by what we have heard,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said in a statement. “We are currently focused on Everson’s well-being and providing the appropriate support for him and his family.”
The Minnesota Police Department said Griffen allegedly created a scene almost every time he entered the hotel. Multiple professional athletes live in the hotel.
Griffen has gone to the Pro Bowl three consecutive seasons. He signed a four-year, $58 million contract extension in 2017.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
September 25th, 2018