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Mental health professionals, law enforcement trying to get Vikings' Everson Griffen out of his home

Saint Paul Pioneer Press - 11/24/2021

Nov. 24—Law enforcement was working Wednesday afternoon to get Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen out of his home in Minnetrista after he had posted a disturbing video on social media early Wednesday morning in which he was holding a gun and then, according to officials, had called 911 to say that an intruder was in his home.

On Wednesday morning, the Vikings said in a statement that mental health professionals were working with Griffen. And the Minnetrista Public Safety Department later said in a release 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.

"Vikings representatives and the team's mental health professionals have been on-site at Everson Griffen's home since early this morning and are cooperating with law enforcement," the Vikings' statement read. "Our only concern at this time is the safety and well-being of Everson and his family. We will have further comment at the appropriate time."

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said at a news conference that he wasn't concerned about Griffen's availability for Sunday's game at San Francisco.

"That's really not our concern right now," Zimmer said. "It's really about him."

Mental health and law enforcement were called to Griffen's house after he posted a video to his Instagram account, which has since been deleted, in which he was holding an automatic pistol and expressing concern for his safety. 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 called 911 from his residence and said someone was inside his home and that he needed help from the police. The release said Griffen told the 911 dispatcher that he fired a weapon but nobody was injured. The release said that when law enforcement agencies responded, they were unable to locate an intruder and that Griffen had refused to come out his home.

The release said that law enforcement officials and psychologists from the Vikings had been in contact with Griffen since 7 a.m., and that law enforcement officials were confident that Griffen is alone inside the home.

Zimmer said he first learned about the situation "last night, late, earlier this morning, whenever it was."

"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 west suburban home, and spent five games away from the team in 2018 after an incident at a Minneapolis hotel raised concerns about his well-being.

Regardless of whether Griffen plays on Sunday, the Vikings will be short-handed on the defensive line. Zimmer said that starting defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, who is unvaccinated, will not play against the 49ers after being placed Tuesday on the COVID-19 reserve list.

The Vikings also will be without star defensive end Danielle Hunter, who is out for the season due to a torn pectoral muscle suffered Oct. 31, and nose tackle Michael Pierce, who is on injured reserve with an elbow injury and will miss his seventh straight game.

Vikings players and coaches expressed concern Wednesday for Griffen.

"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."

Cook said late Wednesday morning that he had tried to reach Griffen but had not heard back from him.

"We're just praying for him and his family and letting professionals handle it from there," said Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Andre Patterson is very close to Griffen. He declined to say on Wednesday afternoon if he had been in contact with Griffen.

"My thoughts are with him and his family," Patterson 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."


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