The sight of No. 97 in Purple sacking the quarterback became a familiar one for Vikings fans during much of the last decade. After one season away, it's almost as if Everson Griffen never left.
Griffen has 4.0 sacks through five games of 2021, a tally that is tied for the sixth-most across the league.
Sam Ekstrom of Purple Insider recently profiled Griffen's strong start in his second stint with the Vikings.
He noted that almost everyone, including Vikings Assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator Andre Patterson, said Griffen looks like the player he was four or five years ago.
The "old Everson" bit has some irony, since Griffen is currently playing a lot like young Everson, instincts and all. In his return to the starting lineup last week, Griffen recorded 2.0 sacks and a forced fumble against [Jared] Goff and the Lions, giving him 4.0 sacks in four games this season.
Most importantly to Andre Patterson, Griffen has 16 pressures in his four games, giving him the eighth-best pass-rush productivity rating in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus.
"You judge him on how he played on the other two teams, and to me he didn't look like the Everson that I know and love," said Patterson, referring to Griffen's run with Dallas and Detroit. "But he looks like Ev'. And Zim' and I got together late last week and say, 'Hey, he's playing like the Pro Bowl Ev' that I know,' so because of that we should start him but not change our plan that we have for him."
Griffen, a 2010 fourth-round pick, racked up 74.5 sacks from 2010-19 with the Vikings. He spent the 2020 season with Dallas and Detroit before Minnesota brought him back during training camp in August.
Griffen got the start in Week 5 against the Lions, but said Sunday he is happy in any role.
"You know, whatever to help my team win," Griffen said. "If they call my number, I'm just going to play my role and do my job. That's what I'm here for."
Ekstrom's full profile on Griffen can be found here.
Pioli outlines approaches to trade deadline
The NFL season is in full swing, which means the league's annual trade deadline is also looming.
That date is set for 3 p.m. (CT) on Nov. 2.
Former NFL GM Scott Pioli, now an NFL Media Analyst for NFL.com, recently gave an inside look as to how some teams approach that day.
He wrote that trade discussions usually happen frequently throughout the calendar year, but then ramp up in the weeks leading to the deadline.
View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Jan. 5, 2022.
He also dove into how one team might approach another about possibly trading for a player.
In short, they can start anywhere people are talking about roster changes. In my experience, those conversations commonly take place between general managers, head coaches and agents. The only way a suitor can confirm a player is available is to check with the team that has the rights to the player. That team must give consent to engage in discussions by league rule and set the boundaries of those discussions. The most important language included in almost every contract is that the player being traded must report and pass the new club's physical in order for the transaction to be complete.
One way to get trades done quickly is for a team to make it known that it is releasing a player a day or two before it actually submits the transaction to the league. This advertises that a player is available, essentially proclaiming, "Come and get this player if you want him." Any player released during the season must go through waivers, and there is a specific claiming order for teams based on current records and standings. Bad teams get first dibs, so if a team with a good record knows it won't be able to claim a player via waivers, it will likely call the team and try to trade for him before the release is officially submitted to the league. Essentially, it's advertising that the team will take close to anything for a player that otherwise would net no returns if the player is just cut.
Carolina recently executed a trade of a 2023 sixth-round pick for four-time Pro Bowl CB Stephon Gilmore after it was reported that New England planned to release the player who is on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
Pioli also noted that while the NFL's trade deadline doesn't generate as much buzz as the ones in the NBA or MLB, that's because salary cap implications usually play a large role in whether or not a trade goes through.
The full trade deadline breakdown from Pioli, who spent times with the Patriots, Falcons and Chiefs, can be found here.