Would the Minnesota Vikings bring back their former pass rusher?
During the first six years of Mike Zimmer’s tenure as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, the team had one of the best defensive units in the NFL each and every season.
With the combination of elite pass-coverage skills, superior tackling abilities, and an excellent pass rush, the Vikings defense made life miserable for their opponents every time they stepped onto the field.
During the 2020 season, however, Minnesota’s defense took a tremendous step back and they put up some historically bad numbers. With the unit’s lack of success, one can easily guarantee that Zimmer’s primary focus during the next few months will be to fix the Vikings defense.
Former Minnesota Vikings defensive end interested in a return?
One of the biggest factors for the decline of Minnesota’s defense in 2020 was the number of notable departures the unit experienced following the conclusion of the 2019 season.
Out the door went longtime Vikings contributors Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander. Zimmer knew it would be difficult to maintain the team’s consistent success on defense without these notable players, but it’s hard to imagine Minnesota’s head coach thought the performance of the unit was going to decline as much as it did.
One of those longtime contributors, Griffen, seems to at least be interested in possibly re-joining the Vikings this year. Since the conclusion of Minnesota’s Week 17 win over the Detroit Lions, the former Vikings pass rusher has been retweeting a high number of posts on Twitter asking him to return to the Twin Cities for next season.
This is definitely something to keep an eye on. Griffen is a free agent this year and he’s likely not going to be looking for major money wherever his next deal comes from.
After finishing 28th in sacks, Minnesota certainly could’ve used Griffen on their defensive line during the 2020 season. At the very least, he would’ve been able to lend some pointers to some of the Vikings’ young pass rushers on their roster.
Maybe he still can? Experience is something Minnesota’s defense was lacking in 2020 and Griffen would make up for this if he suited up for the purple and gold again next season.
During 14 games with both the Lions and Dallas Cowboys in 2020, the former Vikings pass rusher racked up 33 tackles (seven for a loss), 23 pressures, 14 quarterback hits, and six sacks. So at 33-years-old, Griffen proved he can still put up some decent numbers.
A return for the former Vikings defensive lineman would depend on what sort of role he is okay with at this point in his career. If he’s looking to still be a starter in the NFL, then re-signing with Minnesota likely wouldn’t be the best decision for him.
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But if Griffen is willing to accept a role as a situational pass rusher and his price tag isn’t too high, then he’s definitely someone the Vikings should consider bringing back for the 2021 season.