EAGAN, Minn. – Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen has been selected as the club's 2018 Ed Block Courage Award recipient.
Selected 100th overall by the Vikings in 2010, Griffen has spent his entire nine-season career in Purple since he was selected 100th overall by Minnesota in 2010. He has served as a team captain each season since 2015, the first season under Head Coach Mike Zimmer in which the team named season-long captains.
Griffen earned an additional level of respect and admiration from teammates this season after working through some difficult off-field issues. He was away from the team for nearly five weeks, missing five games in September and October, to focus on his personal well-being.
"That means I've got a lot of support from my teammates, my coaches and this organization. It's a good feeling," Griffen said. "It's been a rough year for me, but I'm still here, I'm still standing, and that's the main thing. I'm here to fight, and I'm a fighter. That's all that matters."
Upon returning to the team prior to the Week 8 contest against the Saints, Griffen emphasized his belief that everything happens for a reason.
"I appreciate the little things in life," Griffen said in October. "I'm not taking any day [for granted]; every day is a blessing. You have to be grateful, and I'm just excited to be back here."
Having seven games under his belt since returning, Griffen maintains the same mindset.
"Positivity day by day," he said. "We're still winning games … we've got a big game coming up against Detroit, and that's what my focus has been on."
Griffen, who will turn 31 on Saturday, has seen a number of current and former teammates receive the Ed Block Courage Award in his time with Minnesota and said it's an honor to be named in their company. He specifically mentioned quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who received the honor in 2016 after his work to rehab a devastating knee injury.
"It's awesome," Griffen said. "Those guys … what [Teddy] went through and what he overcame, it's huge. Just seeing that, it's an honor, and I'm thankful. I'm just blessed to be here, to be honest."
Through nine games this season, Griffen has totaled 31 tackles (coaches' tally), seven tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 29 quarterback hurries and a pass defensed.
The defensive end has started 71 of 130 games played for the Vikings. He has 65.5 career sacks.
Griffen also is an active member in the Twin Cities community. He is a voice of awareness and support for the American Cancer Society, specifically participating in the NFL's annual "Crucial Catch" campaign, and is involved in the Leaders of Tomorrow program that makes meals available for school-age children in Minnesota.
Since 1984, the Ed Block Courage Awards annually honor one player from every NFL team who exemplifies commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. Recipients are selected by a vote of their teammates to recognize both on- and off-the-field extra efforts along with their ability to overcome great adversity, whether it be personal or professional. The Ed Block Courage Award is named in honor of Ed Block, the longtime head athletic trainer of the Baltimore Colts. Winners travel to Baltimore every March to receive their trophy at a gala in their honor and spend time at the local Courage House at St. Vincent's Center, a facility specializing in working with abused children. This visit, and the time spent with the children, allows each recipient to fully comprehend the true meaning of the award.
For more information on the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation, visit www.edblock.org.