EAGAN, Minn. – Priorities are clear inside Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.
Everson Griffen is receiving the care and help that he needs, and that is the team's top focus.
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman met with Twin Cities media members Wednesday afternoon and expressed heartfelt emotions around the entire situation that began unfolding in the early hours of the morning.
"First of all, I have to thank the law enforcement and how they handled the situation in such a professional manner," Spielman said. "Our staff members, our mental health team, the way they responded, and they deserve a ton of credit for the help they provided today."
He voiced gratitude to the Wilf family ownership group, crediting its emphasis on the importance of mental health care and for providing the resources necessary to navigate such an incident.
"If your ownership group does not put this as a top priority in your organization and does not provide resources necessary to prevent a potential tragedy — that's why we're very blessed here with the Wilf family and at the Minnesota Vikings," Spielman said. "Because of those resources, but also because we think not only our players, our coaches but everyone in this organization – we're one big family.
"We have the resources necessary that, when there are issues that pop up, we're able to support each other, that we're able to take care of each other," he added.
Spielman noted that the health and safety of Griffen; his wife, Tiffany; and their three young sons is the organization's biggest priority.
"Their family is our family," Spielman said.
He explained that he headed to Griffen's residence immediately after receiving a call.
"I can't tell you how fortunate we are to have the mental health team we have in place that was there with me, and to watch the law enforcement groups and how they handled the situation," Spielman said. "My job and role was basically to support anything they needed, to communicate back here [to people] in the building, to communicate with our ownership group. Keep everybody informed of what's going on.
"But I was, I don't want to say floored or surprised, but so impressed with how everybody worked together and handled a very difficult situation," he added.
Spielman declined to disclose if he'd had any direct communication with Griffen but assured that he is in the care of medical professionals.
Spielman has known Griffen throughout his entire NFL career, from the time Minnesota tabbed him in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. The defensive end has spent all but last season with the Vikings, having played with Detroit and Dallas in 2020 before re-signing with Minnesota for the 2021 campaign.
In 2018, Griffen spent five weeks away from the team while dealing with a personal matter.
Spielman referenced that incident three years ago, saying the Vikings Emergency Action Plan (EAP) in place at that time was so beneficial, as was reflecting on the process afterward and making adjustments.
"I think our plan that we put in place became a big priority for the NFL, too, because there had been some incidents with other teams with mental health situations," Spielman said. "I think the NFL putting a huge emphasis on mental health, along with our own club, that we came up with a plan we felt very comfortable with, if we had to use a plan, that we were able to implement it."
Griffen so far this season has contributed in a big way on the field, and he had expressed to media on a few occasions over the past several months that he was in a good place both mentally and physically.
Asked when that may have changed, Spielman responded, "I don't know if you can ever have the answer for that." And really, those details are not what's truly important in this situation.
"All I know is that when we got the call this morning, that we immediately – our number-one concern was because of Everson, Tiffany and his family, how much we love them," Spielman said. "And how much they are a part of this family."