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Minnesota Vikings free agents: DE Everson Griffen

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Number: 97

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Height: 6-3

Weight: 273

College: Southern California

Experience: 4

2013 Statistics: 16 games, 27 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble

Career Statistics: 59 games, 1 start, 85 tackles, 17.5 sacks, 4 passes defensed, 1 interception, 1 touchdown, 3 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries

Outlook: The Vikings may and should have made Griffen priority No. 1 this offseason.

Reports during the season came out that the Vikings were trying to re-sign the reserve defensive end. However, Griffen admitted that he received an offer, but was not going to accept it.

“You can control what you can control, that’s out of my hands,” he was quoted by 1500ESPN.com as saying after a practice in October. “They gave me an offer, but it wasn’t in the ballpark. We’re just working on it right now.”

Reports say that the Vikings were offering closer to backup money and Griffen wants closer to superstar money. All negotiations usually begin that way, the team’s offer undervalues and the player’s want overvalues the player’s past production and future potential.

When the Vikings drafted Griffen in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft, he was considered a first round talent with late round baggage.

He was arrested twice in a week in early February of 2011 and cancelled a party in Las Vegas immediately after the USC banned members of their team at the time from attending it. Since, troubles have seemed to avoid him and he has stayed out of trouble.

Experts believe that if Griffen returns to the Vikings, he could become a superstar with Mike Zimmer as the new head coach. Some believe that Griffen wants to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme as a stand-up rusher.

The Vikings took a chance on Griffen’s baggage in a low risk situation. It has paid off so far, but if the two sides can’t come to terms on a new deal, the Vikings will have wasted their most athletic defensive end.

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