Several high-profile players around the NFL remain free agents with training camps starting up this week, particularly contributors on the defensive front. One such player is former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen, a ten-year veteran whose contract with the Vikings expired after last season.
Earlier this offseason, APC’s Jon Meerdink dug into how Griffen might be able to help the Green Bay Packers. Now it appears that the team is seriously considering bringing him aboard. According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, the Packers are one of the teams to “express interest” in the 32-year-old Griffen, noting that “the interest is mutual” with the player.
A fourth-round pick in 2010, Griffen played well in a reserve role for the Vikings through four seasons before becoming a full-time starter in 2014. In the six years since, has earned four Pro Bowl appearances and recorded at least eight sacks in every full season.
Although Griffen has played his entire NFL career as a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, his size and skill set would likely translate smoothly to a Mike Pettine-coached 3-4 defense. His 6-foot-3, 273-pound frame is similarly-sized to that of Za’Darius Smith (6-foot-4, 272) and Rashan Gary (6-foot-5, 277) and his speed and agility times (though from the 2010 draft year) are noticeably better than Smith’s. Furthermore, Pettine’s penchant for lining up his bigger edge players on the line at the 3-technique for pass-rushing downs would likely give Griffen ample opportunity to pin his ears back and go after the quarterback. And of course there is the fact that the Packers lack a clear fourth player in the rotation at the position behind Smith, Gary, and Preston Smith.
The money would need to make sense, of course, as the Packers are rather tight against the salary cap and have several prominent players who need contract extensions before 2021. But adding Griffen would take the Packers’ pass rush and talent pool on the edge from great to truly exceptional.