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Everson Griffen’s Current Vikings Deal Could Put His Future With the Team in Doubt

The Vikings were hailed for their proactiveness when they signed Everson Griffen to a new deal before the 2017 season, locking up the defensive end through the 2022 season even though he had two years left on his existing deal.

While the contract did extend the marriage between the Vikings and Griffen on paper, its structure did something else: It guaranteed the Vikings the kind of leverage they could exert over Griffen in the coming weeks, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

Griffen’s old deal had him set to make $7 million in 2017 and $8.5 million in 2018, with none of the money in those two seasons guaranteed. His renegotiated deal put an additional $2 million in his pocket for the 2017 season and an extra $1.5 million for 2018, with Griffen getting $6.2 million in cash at the time of the deal’s completion.

The deal effectively solidified Griffen’s status for two seasons he was under contract with the Vikings anyway, fully guaranteeing his 2017 base salary and delivering another $5.5 million roster bonus last May. Beyond that, though, it essentially gave the Vikings control of Griffen’s future, and the structure of the contract means a decision on Griffen could be coming in the next month.

Like his 2018 base salary, Griffen’s 2019 base was guaranteed against injury at the time he signed his new deal, and will become fully guaranteed if he’s still on the roster by March 15 (the third day of the 2019 league year). His base for the 2019 season, however, is $10.9 million.

The Vikings would face just $1.2 million of dead money charges if they released Griffen, while recouping $10.7 million of cap space.

The contract’s structure is similar to many of the deals the Vikings do, and it’s not unusual in the NFL, where the cold reality is that a player’s relationship to his team is often only as strong as his recent performance or the guaranteed money in his contract.

Griffen’s battles with mental health issues during the 2018 season could cast a business decision in a cruel light, but a Vikings team not flush with cap space is nonetheless likely weighing its options in the final weeks before free agency.

Griffen, who turned 31 in December, posted 5 1/2 sacks for the 2018 season and notched 4 1/2 in the eight games he played after returning from his five-game absence, while playing around 80 percent of the Vikings’ defensive snaps in that time.

Those are solid numbers, to be sure, but when Griffen’s current deal makes him the ninth highest-paid defensive end in the league, the Vikings might not view his production as being worth his scheduled price tag for 2019. That could be especially true given the year Danielle Hunter had, and what he did on the right side while Griffen was out.

Vikings LB Anthony Barr Tell TMZ His 2019 “Possibilities Are Open” of Where He’ll Play

The future is very much up in the air for Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr, who doesn’t know where he will line up next season and even for what team.

Barr, who is set to be a free agent in March, told TMZ Sports his thoughts and plans for the upcoming season.

“I love Minnesota, but I’m willing to play anywhere I find fit,” Barr said. “If it’s comfortable, that I would have a role on the team with and help win. My possibilities are open.”

Barr has spent the last five years with the Vikings, starting 71 games, appearing in four Pro Bowls and being one of the best defensive players to play in Minnesota.

For now, the Vikings have not offered a contract extension to Barr, and it sounds like more and more there will be a parting of ways between he and the team come March.

Vikings Interim OC Kevin Stefanski May Be the New Head Coach in Cleveland

The Vikings might be losing the chance to hire interim OC Kevin Stefanski as their full-time guy, as reports state that he is on his way to Cleveland, where he’s one of two finalists for the job as Browns new head coach.

The report, from Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says that it’s down to Stefanski and current Browns OC Freddie Kitchens, who interviewed with the Browns yesterday in Berea.

Stefanski was promoted from quarterbacks coach when John DeFilippo was fired with three games to play in the season.

Minnesota has an interesting decision to make, as his contract is up today and according to Pro Football Talk “he’s one of the options that the Vikings are considering for the coordinator position in 2019. That would obviously turn out to be a moot point if things go his way in Cleveland and it sounds like we should find out soon which route the Browns will take.”

The teams’ offense did perform better in the last three games with Stefanski as OC, as they scored 41, 27 and 10 points in going 2-1 in their last three outings.

Former Vikings Guard Steve Hutchinson a Finalist for the 2019 Class in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

There just might be come purple in the Pro Football Hall of Fame after all in 2019, as Thursday this website and others reported that former Vikings guard Steve Hutchinson has been named as a finalist into the Hall of Fame class of 2019.

The offensive guard last year came up short in his bid to get into the Hall, but with his advancement on Thursday he now gets another chance.

Hutchinson went from the list of 25 down to 15. The announcement of who will make the Hall will be announced in Atlanta on February 2nd, the night before Super Bowl LIII.

In his career the guard was a pros pro, as he played with the Vikings from 2006-11, making four Pro Bowls and being named All-Pro three times.

Before coming to the the Vikings he started his career with the Seattle Seahawks from 2001-05, and his final ride came with the Titans in Tennessee in 2012.

Hutchinson made seven Pro Bowls and was All-Pro five times in his career, and was a huge force on any offensive line that he was a part of.

The guard started on Michigan’s 1997 national championship team as a redshirt freshman and is one of four offensive linemen among this year’s finalists.

Here’s the full list of modern-era finalists:

• Steve Atwater, Safety – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets

• Champ Bailey, Cornerback – 1999-2003 Washington Redskins, 2004-2013 Denver Broncos

• Tony Boselli, Tackle – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars

• Isaac Bruce, Wide Receiver – 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers

• Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers

• Alan Faneca, Guard – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals

• Tom Flores, Coach – 1979-1987 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-94 Seattle Seahawks

• Tony Gonzalez, Tight End – 1997-2008 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009-2013 Atlanta Falcons

• Steve Hutchinson, Guard – 2001-05 Seattle Seahawks, 2006-2011 Minnesota Vikings, 2012 Tennessee Titans

• Edgerrin James, Running Back – 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks

• Ty Law, Cornerback – 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005, 2008 New York Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos

• John Lynch, Free Safety – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos

• Kevin Mawae, Center – 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans

• Ed Reed, Safety – 2002-2012 Baltimore Ravens, 2013 Houston Texans, 2013 New York Jets

• Richard Seymour, Defensive End/Defensive Tackle – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012

Bears vs Vikings NFL Week 17 Capsule

CHICAGO (11-4) at MINNESOTA (8-6-1)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST, Fox

OPENING LINE — Vikings by 6½

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Chicago 11-4, Minnesota 8-6-1

SERIES RECORD — Vikings lead 60-53-2

LAST MEETING — Bears beat Vikings 25-20, Nov. 18

LAST WEEK — Bears beat 49ers 14-9; Vikings beat Lions 27-9

AP PRO32 RANKING — Bears No. 3, Vikings No. 13

BEARS OFFENSE — OVERALL (21), RUSH (14), PASS (20)

BEARS DEFENSE — OVERALL (4), RUSH (2), PASS (8)

VIKINGS OFFENSE — OVERALL (17), RUSH (30), PASS (10)

VIKINGS DEFENSE — OVERALL (3), RUSH (11), PASS (3)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — This is third straight season and fifth time in eight years with Bears and Vikings matched up in Minnesota in Week 17. 116th all-time meeting between Bears and Vikings, including wild-card round playoff win by Bears in Minnesota in 1994-95 season. Strong possibility that Vikings and Bears face each other next week in wild-card round. … Bears have lost six straight games in Minnesota. … Bears are only team in NFC to hold second-half lead in every game this year. … Matt Nagy is first Bears coach with winning record in debut season since Paddy Driscoll went 9-2-1 in 1956, when George Halas took two-year hiatus. … QB Mitchell Trubisky is 63 for 89 (70.8 percent) for 755 yards (251.7 per game) with six passing TDs, one rushing TD and two interceptions for 109.5 passer rating in last three games vs. NFC North foes, all wins. Trubisky and Texans QB Deshaun Watson are only players in league this season with 95-plus passer rating and 400-plus rushing yards. … Bears have had 16 players with at least one TD, tied with Saints for most in NFL. … Chicago has held opponents to six or fewer first-half points in eight games this year. … Bears OLB Khalil Mack has 4½ sacks and forced fumble in last four games. … Vikings are 18-6 at home in regular season and playoffs since U.S. Bank Stadium opened. … Vikings RB Dalvin Cook has topped 100 total yards in consecutive games for first time in career, with 209 rushing yards and 62 receiving yards combined over last two contests. … QB Kirk Cousins, who has matched career high with 29 TD passes, needs one more to join Warren Moon (1994), Daunte Culpepper (2004) and Brett Favre (2009) as only players in team history with 4,000-plus passing yards and 30-plus TD passes in single season. … With one TD by WR Adam Thielen and six catches and one TD by Stefon Diggs, Vikings would have second set of teammates in NFL history with 100-plus receptions and 10-plus TDs in same year, joining Colts WR Reggie Wayne and TE Dallas Clark (2009). … Vikings lead NFL with 50 sacks, third most in franchise history behind 1992 (51) and 1989 (71). … Vikings have allowed fewest TD drives (25) in league for second straight season after giving up 23 in 2017. … Fantasy tip: Trubisky, who has 25 career starts, has posted three of seven lowest career passer ratings vs. Vikings. Vikings’ defense has 43 points allowed and 23 sacks in last three home games.

Video: NFL Network Previews the Week 16 Vikings vs Lions NFC North Battle

Move the Sticks hosts preview the Week 16 matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions.

Report: Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer and Former OC John DeFilippo Were at Odds at the End

The Vikings offense was sputtering when they lose to the Seahawks a few weeks back, and they quickly made a move, firing offensive coordinator John DeFilippo the very next day.

As is usually the case, there was and is more to the story about DeFilippo now that the waters have settled for a couple weeks with the team.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that DeFilippo and Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer were not on the same page game plan wise, and that Zimmer wanted the team and DeFilippo to run the ball more, but the OC didn’t listen.

After the team struggled, it was an easy out for Zimmer and the team to make a change.

Kevin Stefanski is now calling the plays for Minnesota, and the team is playing better, and last week they put on their best offensive show, scoring 41 points in a 41-17 win over the Miami Dolphins.

The Vikings still have the number two wild card spot in the NFC, as they are sitting at 7-6-1 heading into action this weekend.

NFL VP of Officiating: Seahawks Bobby Wagner’s Field Goal Block Vs Vikings Shouldn’t Have Been Allowed

Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner’s crucial field goal block against the Vikings last Sunday should not have counted, NFL.com reports.

Al Riveron, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, explained in the league’s weekly officiating video that Wagner used his teammates to leverage himself while leaping over the line of scrimmage, which is a violation. Wagner proceeded to deflect Dan Bailey’s 47-yard attempt with 5:46 remaining in the fourth quarter.

“In this case this is a foul,” Riveron said. “Watch No. 54, he is on the line of scrimmage, and also stationary, but he is going to put both hands on a teammate, and he is going to use his teammates to leverage himself to get to the other side. And again, if you use your teammates and/or an opponent … to help you get to the other side … or an attempt to block a kick … that is a foul. Incidental contact is not considered a foul.”

An official initially threw a flag on the play, but upon review it was determined there was no infraction.

Packers CB Jaire Alexander Still Can’t See the Truth About Sunday’s Loss to the Vikings; So Someone Made a Video to Remind Him

Forget about being humble, as despite being schooled on Sunday night by the Vikings, Packers CB Jaire Alexander still was ready after the game to say that the Packers simply ‘didn’t make enough plays,’ and that Minnesota ‘wasn’t that tough.’

Huh?

The corner was burned quite a few times in the loss, and leave it to twitter to find someone who went out of their way to make a video showing just that.

Enjoy maybe the most fun tweet of the year, proving again why you should just shut up after you lose a game and not try to justify why you took the big fat ‘L.’

Still Hanging on to the NFC’s 6th Seed, the Vikings Have a Tough Road to the Postseason

Following the Chicago Bears Thanksgiving feast of a win over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Thursday afternoon, the Minnesota Vikings march to a hopeful postseason birth has done nothing but get tougher as the team has a huge game this Sunday against the rival Green Bay Packers.

Checking American Football Betting, the Vikings are sitting in most sportsbooks as 3.5 point favorites for the NBC Sunday Night Football showdown, and it might just be the last chance for Minnesota to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Sitting at 5-4-1, and currently in the 6th spot in the NFC playoff picture, those numbers do not mean a whole lot when you look at the games that the Vikings have left on their very tough 2018 schedule.

The team has six games left including Sunday night’s battle with the Packers, and four of them are going to be daunting, including the biggest being the week 17 showdown with the Division leading Bears, who look more and more impressive by the week with a sense and the ability to find ways to get the job done.

The week after the Vikings take on the Pack, they will have a game against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, and if that is not tough enough, the game will be played late in the day in New England, which is never an easy place to win.

The Pats are still fighting teams like the Chiefs and Steelers for a bye in the AFC, and the Vikings will have their hands full on the road a week from Sunday.

After the matchup with the Patriots, the team will head to Seattle, another very tough place to win, for a prime-time showdown with the Seattle Seahawks on ESPN on Monday, December 10th.

The Hawks are also in the mix for a NFC playoff spot, so this will be a big game in terms of trying to stay in control of a wild card spot in the NFC.

After the Seattle battle on Monday night, the team will come back for to play the final two home games of 2018 in their last three games, staring with the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, December 16th with a noon kickoff.

The team the next week will go on the road to play the Lions, and then in the last week of the season have that huge matchup at home with the Bears, a team they lost to in the National spotlight on Sunday Night Football last week by a final score of 25-20.

The road to making it to the postseason with a chance to make some noise is not going to be easy for the purple people eaters, but it seems like the task is simple – win games and you’re going places – lose, and you’ll be on the outside looking in.