Everson Griffen has a lot to be thankful for this year.
The defensive end's Thanksgiving included a Vikings win, a pair of sacks and the arrival of his third son.
Griffen's wife, Tiffany, gave birth unexpectedly Thursday morning, and he later told reporters that he was able to watch the birth via FaceTime during warmups.
An already-intense Griffen was even more pumped up than usual, and it showed on the field en route to a Vikings defeat 30-23 of the division-rival Lions. The win marked Minnesota's seventh straight, moved the Vikings to 9-2 and gave them a three-game lead in the division.
"My wife is healthy, my baby's healthy, and we don't know his name yet, but it's not about that. I'm happy to have a new addition. Three boys, I don't know what my wife is going to do – we drive her crazy," Griffen said after the game. "But we're 9-2, and it just feels good winning."
Minnesota's defense struggled a bit throughout the afternoon but came up big when it mattered.
Griffen's first sack came in the second quarter, when he broke through the line, wrestled briefly with Detroit's Graham Glasgow and took down Matthew Stafford from behind at the Vikings 37-yard line. Following the sack, Griffen pulled up his jersey to reveal a message he had written on the undershirt: "I just had a baby boy, what should we name him?"
"I was thinking about doing something and just thought of that, thought it would be funny."
Stafford recovered and on second-and-15 threw a 23-yard pass to Marvin Jones, but the Vikings defense did not allow the Lions to get into the end zone on the drive.
The "Sack Daddy" showed up again late in the third quarter.
On third-and-2 from the Vikings 27, Stafford was sniffed out by Everson, who sacked him on the 35-yard line to stop Detroit's advance. Stafford fumbled during the play but recovered the ball, leading to fourth down and another instance of settling for a Prater field goal.
Griffen's Thanksgiving Day outing brought his season sacks total to 12, which ties his career high. He now also has tied Kevin Williams for eighth all-time in Vikings history with 60 sacks.
"I focused on my [mentality], worked on myself this offseason, and I understand who I am now as a person. And it shows in dividends. I see the fruits," Griffen said. "I'm excited about this season and this team and where we're going."
The Vikings win at Detroit kicked off a three-game road trip and snapped a three-game losing streak to the Lions.
After Minnesota held a 17-point lead at two different points in the game, the Lions worked to make things interesting toward the end. The Vikings were able to stave off a complete comeback, however.
"It always goes down the wire like this," said Griffen of the division rivalry. "We always want it to be easy, but it's never going to be easy, and we got the W."
When asked if he expects Griffen to name his son after his head coach, Mike Zimmer laughed.
"No, not Mike. Definitely not Mike," Zimmer quipped. "But congratulations to him … it wasn't expected for him to have the baby this morning, and for him to have to be here and to do the things that he did, he's a team guy, all the way."
After feasting on the Lions offense, Griffen is looking forward to a few days of downtime with his family of five before getting back to the grindstone.
"We're coming, man. We're going to face adversity, and we're never going to give up. We're going to fight to the very end," Griffen said. "We stayed composed, and we're looking to go all the way.
"But we're going to take it one game at a time, and we're going to going to celebrate this win, going to have a happy Thanksgiving," Griffen added. "And go eat some good turkey."