The Vikings have agreed to terms with defensive end Everson Griffen on a five-year, $42.5 million deal that includes $20 million in guaranteed money, according to various reports.
Griffen was scheduled to hit the free-agent market on Tuesday if he didn't agree to a deal with the Vikings, but that deal should end the Vikings' expressed interest in DE Michael Johnson, who played for new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer in Cincinnati. The Vikings called Johnson's agent on Saturday to express their interest, but, according to ESPN, they were among seven teams interested in Johnson and likely figured the price would get too high.
Griffen's signing will also end any speculation about the Vikings being interested in re-signing Jared Allen, which was a longshot all along. After six years with the Vikings, Allen's contract is set to expire on Tuesday after a $17 million salary-cap figure in 2013.
Interestingly, about the same time that news of Griffen's deal broke, CBS Sports reported that Allen has narrowed his list of potential teams to five and the Vikings weren't among them. That comes as no surprise, as Allen, who will be 32 years old this season, is expected to sign with a team he believes is closer to contending for a Super Bowl.
Allen led the team with 11.5 sacks in 2013 and has led the team in sacks each of his six years with the Vikings. Griffen, a backup to Allen at right defensive end as well as a pass-rushing defensive tackle, is expected to assume the starting duties at right end for years to come.
Griffen played in all 16 games last year but didn't start any. He finished third on the team in sacks with 5.5, behind Allen's 11.5 and Brian Robison's nine. Griffen was also fifth on the team with nine tackles for loss and third with 27 quarterback hurries, 30 tackles and four passes defensed, according to coaches' film review.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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