September 26, 2018 10:55 AM
The Minnesota Vikings worried Everson Griffen was suffering "a nervous breakdown" last week, leading him to be kicked out of practice and triggering bizarre behaviors that eventually led to his hospitalization Saturday evening, according to a Minnetrista police report.
The report states that Griffen's behavior at practice – described by a team official as "explosive, screaming and yelling" – was so disruptive that the All-Pro defensive end was ordered to get a mental health evaluation before he would be allowed to rejoin the team.
Head coach Mike Zimmer said during his weekly press conference Tuesday that the team is focused on Griffen's well-being.
"Our owners do an unbelievable job of giving these players all the resources that they need. If we have to bring in experts from some other place, or if he has to see other people, our owners are outstanding with that," Zimmer said. "We're gonna do everything possible we can, not only for Everson, but to help everybody on the team."
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The Minnetrista police report details the events that led up to Griffen's hospitalization.
Kim Klawiter, the team's security director, told police on Saturday that Griffen was told "to go get his head straight," according to the report. Additionally, Klawiter told police that the organization was worried that Griffen could hurt himself, as well as his wife and children, according to the report.
Griffen's wife, told police he was "fighting with demons in his head" and had recently told her, "I just want help," police said.
After being ordered off the practice field, Griffen's downward spiral continued over a period of several hours on Saturday, according to police reports and a source.
On Saturday afternoon, Griffen ended up at the Hotel Ivy in downtown Minneapolis where he reportedly wanted to meet with Leslie Pico, the Vikings player development director.
Pico told police that when Griffen arrived at the hotel, he had forgotten that he had wanted to meet Pico, the report states. Pico told an officer that ". . . at no time did Everson make any comments about wanting to hurt himself or others," the report says. The officer further stated that Pico believed "there is nothing that Everson has said or done that would rise it to the level where immediate action needs to be taken."
However, a Minneapolis police incident report – in which Griffen's name us redacted – states that Griffen had allegedly threatened to shoot members of the hotel staff Saturday afternoon unless he was allowed into his room. A source confirmed to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that Griffen is the person identified in the report. No gun was ever found, according to the report, and Griffen was allowed by police to leave the hotel on his own accord.
Griffen then drove to the Lake Minnetonka area and reportedly tried to enter the home of Trae Waynes, a teammate, according to the Minnetrista police report.
Soon after, Griffen got into a stranger's car at a gas station near Highway 7 and Christimas Lake Road, police say. The driver soon after contacted Griffen's wife and drove him home. The driver later told police he "didn't feel safe at all and needed to get out of there," according to the report.
Police say they found Griffen outside his home, "yelling" and making strange comments. "We told him that he needed to go to a hospital and get checked out," an officer stated in his report. "I told him as he knew, the Vikings also wanted a mental health evaluation done. Everson agreed to go to the hospital."
As he was being transported by ambulance, however, paramedics reported that Griffen jumped out of the vehicle "because he was in fear that someone was going to shoot him."
Police called to the scene said they found Griffen walking along the side of the road with his hands up in the air. An officer ordered him back in the ambulance and then followed paramedics to a hospital where he was placed on a medical hold for evaluation.
Zimmer was asked Tuesday whether the team could have done anything to make sure Griffen had undergone a mental health evaluation prior to Saturday.
"Quite honestly, I don't know. It's not my area of expertise. I don't really know the answer to that to be honest with you."
Joe Augustine and Ryan Raiche
Updated: September 26, 2018 10:55 AM
Created: September 25, 2018 05:07 PM
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