ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen emerged from his Minnetrista home Wednesday afternoon without incident after mental health and law enforcement officials were called to his residence.
Officials had been working throughout the day to get Griffen out of his home after he had posted a disturbing video on social media early Wednesday morning and called 911 to report a possible intruder. In the since-deleted video on Instagram, Griffin is holding a handgun and expressing concern for his safety.
“Law enforcement agencies have notified us Everson Griffen came out of his home without incident and is now getting the care he needs,” the Vikings said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “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. Our focus remains on Everson’s health and safety and providing the proper resources for him and his family.”
Minnetrista Public Safety said in a release Wednesday morning that no intruder had been found at Griffen’s home and that law enforcement officials were trying to get the defensive end, who was believed to be alone, out of his home. According to Minnetrista officials, law enforcement and mental health officials had been having ongoing communication with Griffen since about 7 a.m. until the situation was resolved at 1:30 p.m. when he was transported by ambulance to a health care facility.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said he went to Griffen’s home early Wednesday morning. He was there much of the day.
“I have to thank the law enforcement and how they handled the situation in such a professional manner,’’ Spielman said. “Our staff members, our mental health team, the way they responded and they deserve a ton of credit for the help they provided (Wednesday). Our ownership group, whose mental health is one of our top priorities here in this organization, and for them providing us the resources necessary to handle situations like this.’’
Spielman declined to say whether he had any contact with Griffen. He said that Griffen was “transported (to where he can get) to the necessary resources and professionals that he needs to be with.” He declined to give any details about where Griffen was taken.
“I want to truly be respectful to Everson, (his wife) Tiffany and their family… I want to respect their privacy,’ Spielman said. “Their family is our family. It’s important at this moment we respect the health, safety and well-being of everyone involved in this situation.”
It’s uncertain how long Griffen will be away from the team. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said at his weekly Wednesday morning news conference he wasn’t concerned about his availability for Sunday’s game at San Francisco, saying, “It’s really about him.”
According to a Minnetrista Public Safety release, Minnetrista police, with the support of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, Carver County Sheriff’s Office and the Orono Police, responded to a 911 call from Griffen shortly before 3 a.m. Griffen told a 911 dispatcher that someone was inside his home and that he needed help from the police.
“I got a call real early this morning,’’ Spielman said. “So once I got the call, I headed over there. Saw everybody, I can’t tell you how fortunate we are to have the mental health team we have in place that was there with me and to watch the law enforcement groups and how they handled the situation. … I was, I don’t want to say floored or surprised, but so impressed with how everybody worked together and handled a very difficult situation.”
Zimmer learned of the situation early Wednesday morning.
“I addressed the team this morning, and talked to them,” Zimmer said. “So we have a job to do.”
Griffen, 33, played for the Vikings from 2010-19, making four Pro Bowl teams, before spending last season with Dallas and Detroit. He re-signed with Minnesota in August and has five sacks in the nine games he has played.
“We’re only concerned about his well-being,” Zimmer said. “He’s been with us for a long time. Good guy. Works hard.”
Griffen missed one game this season with a concussion after a one-car accident near his home and spent five games away from the team in 2018 after a mental health situation raised concerns about his well-being.
The Vikings will be depleted on the defensive line Sunday. Zimmer said that defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, who was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list Tuesday, will not play. Tomlinson is unvaccinated and must quarantine for at least 10 days if he tested positive.
Star defensive end Danielle Hunter is out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle suffered Oct. 31, and nose tackle Michael Pierce is on injured reserve with an elbow injury and will miss his seventh straight game.
Speaking late Wednesday morning, Vikings players said that Griffen was in their thoughts.
“We’re just trying to make sure he’s OK,” said running back Dalvin Cook. “That’s our brother first, and we want to make sure his family is OK and make sure he gets the proper treatment and love that he needs to get through the time that he’s going through right now. … Your mental health is always important. … That’s important in today’s world.”
Said quarterback Kirk Cousins: “We’re just praying for him and his family and letting professionals handle it from there.”
Co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Andre Patterson is very close to Griffen.
“My thoughts are with him and his family,” he said. “Everson is like a little brother to me, and I just want him to be safe. … (The players) care about him, too. He means a lot to them, so we just want him to be safe and healthy. That’s the most important thing.”