Vikings Coach Zimmer says Griffen Won't Play with Team on Thursday; 'I'm Just Hoping for the Best'

September 25, 2018 03:31 PM

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer confirmed Tuesday that Everson Griffen would not travel with the team for Thursday night's game against the Los Angeles Rams.

That comes in the wake of a series of incidents over the weekend that left team officials concerned for the star defensive end's mental health.

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RELATED: Police Report: Minnesota Vikings Everson Griffen 'Not Acting Normally,' Kicked out of Practice, Hospitalized

Zimmer said he would not go into detail on the situation, instead referring back to a statement general manager Rick Spielman issued on the matter Monday night.

"I'm not really going to talk about things we've talked about internally," Zimmer said. "I'm just hoping for the best for him."

Zimmer did say Griffen, who has been selected to the Pro Bowl the past three seasons, has been a positive presence in the locker room.

"Right now, the only thing we're concerned about with Everson isn't anything football," he said. "It's about him getting better."

RELATED: Source: Viking Everson Griffen Involved in Incident at Minneapolis Hotel, Team Concerned About Well-Being

"In the five years I've been here, I've always loved Everson," he added. "The effort he puts out and the work that he does. He's been a really, really good role model for us. He's going through a tough time right now."

According to a report classified as a "mental health" incident by the Minnetrista Police Department, team officials noticed Griffen - who had already been ruled out for last Sunday's home loss to Buffalo due to injury -  was "not acting normally," almost like he was "having a nervous breakdown."

The report states the team kicked Griffen out of practice on Saturday, which led to threats and bizarre behavior later that day at the Hotel Ivy in Minneapolis.

According to police records, a person at the hotel was verbally threatening to shoot someone around midday Saturday. The Minneapolis Police Department redacted that person's name, but a source confirmed to KSTP that it was indeed Griffen named in the report.

According to the report, at one point staff members moved to the back of the office while Griffen paced around in the lobby. Police dispatch audio archived online includes a dispatcher saying that the suspect said to the staff that if someone wouldn't let him in his room, he was going to shoot someone.

Police said no gun was ever seen. 

At one point, the report said the caller stated Griffen threatened to assault staff members and was lying on the lobby floor.

Griffen was never arrested, according to police. Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder said the man left on his own accord, and the caller was no longer cooperative.

Elder said the situation did not warrant any further investigation, and the officers called to the scene told him they never saw a gun.

At his press conference, Zimmer did say the team has a strong support system in place.

"Our owners do a good job of giving these players all the resources they need," he said. "We bring in experts, if he has to see other people, our owners are outstanding with that. Not only for Everson, but for everyone on the team and their families too."

Zimmer said he had not spoken with Griffen since the incidents, and was not sure what additional support was offered to him over the weekend.

His teammates, meanwhile, offered words of support prior to practice Tuesday.

"We just want to be supportive and help in any way we can," starting quarterback Kirk Cousins said. "We want what's best for Everson and his family."

With Griffen out, third-year pro Stephen Weatherly, whose locker is next to Griffen's at the team's practice facility, made his first career start against Buffalo, recording his first NFL sack.

He said it's hard not having Griffen around, but he is in his teammates' thoughts and prayers.

"It's tough," he said. "I'd much rather have him here - not only as a teammate, but as someone I've leaned on a lot personally. But we'll continue to play hard and go out and do it for him." 

Weatherly said he had not noticed anything out of sorts with Griffen in the week leading up to last Saturday's incidents, an assessment Cousins also shared.

"He was the same Everson I've always known," Cousins said.

Cousins said the team will keep its focus on preparing for the Rams, while still trying to offer support to Griffen and his family.

"You make yourself available and you pray for him," he said. "As you do for a lot of guys. There are a lot of guys in this locker room who go through things. This league will test you in a lot of different ways."

KSTP's Ryan Raiche contributed to this report

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