Everson Griffen’s Contract Was a Panic Move by Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings: Everson Griffen Contract Was a Panic Move

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings have made a number of shrewd moves throughout the 2014 offseason, both in free agency and the 2014 NFL Draft. However, the re-signing of defensive end Everson Griffen was not one of them.

Griffen received a five-year, $42.5 million contract from the Vikings this offseason. To put this into perspective, Griffen is now the sixth highest paid defensive end in the NFL in terms of total contract value. His contract is comparable to the contracts of players such as Cameron Wake or Trent Cole.

While Griffen has shown flashes of being an above average – possibly even an elite – NFL player, he has never been a full-time starter in the league. Therefore, his contract should not reflect those of veteran, above-average NFL starters such as Wake or Cole.

The most concerning piece of Griffen’s contract is the amount of guaranteed money he received. Griffen will receive $19.8 million in guaranteed money, 46.6 percent of his total contract, over the course of the next five seasons. When elite defensive end Mario Williams signed his mega-deal with the Buffalo Bills, he received $24.9 million in guaranteed money, roughly a fourth of his total contract.

Charles Johnson, a Carolina Panthers defensive end, currently plays under a six-year, $76 million contract. While Johnson has been a productive NFL player, he is certainly not worth this type of money. In fact, many analysts have argued that this is one of the worst current NFL contracts. Griffen’s contract may not have a comparable per-year or total value to that of Johnson’s, but the guaranteed money per year is very similar.

When Michael Johnson signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Vikings panicked and offered Griffen too lucrative of a contract. In return, the Vikings’ assured themselves of keeping “their guy,” but may have hindered their future to some extent. Griffen’s contract will hit the Vikings’ cap to the tune of $8.2 million from 2014-2017, and then $9.7 million in 2018, so the team better hope he can fulfill his contract to some extent.

Robert Reidell is a Minnesota Vikings Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, ”Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+.


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  • Josh

    Griffen was signed before Johnson… You have also clearly not watched him on film. Terrific against the run, great against the pass, and also has the versatility to drop into coverage. Yes, he sat behind the grossly over-rated Jared Allen, but he will turn out to be one of the best D-ends in 2014.

  • Adam B. Carlson

    Everson Griffen had more sacks in the last two years (in a backup role) than the prospect that you call “elite” in Trent Cole.
    However, I will agree that paying a man starting DE money without starting DE experience is a gamble, but questioning his productivity is somewhat absurd. Not only that, but Griffen shouldn’t be pigeonholed as a defensive end. He will most likely see time as a defensive tackle and outside linebacker in head coach Mike Zimmer’s scheme.
    The contract might look really rich upon first glance, but the guaranteed money is all toward the beginning of the deal, making it easy to get out of if the investment doesn’t work out in the first two years of his new deal.