After ten seasons with the team that drafted him in 2010, defensive end Everson Griffen is saying goodbye to the Minnesota Vikings.
"While it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye, I leave Minnesota in the best physical and mental shape I have ever been and have many Pro Bowl seasons to come!" Griffen wrote in an Instagram post. "Wherever my next stop is, I will always be grateful to and cheering for the Vikings."
Griffen's announcement comes as a surprise because it was just a few weeks ago that coach Mike Zimmer said he expected Griffen would return to Minnesota for the 2020 season after Griffen voluntarily voided the remaining three years on his contract to free up more than $13 million salary cap space for the team.
"Everson's a terrific person for us," Zimmer said at the NFL combine. "I think our situation is the right one for him, and we expect him to be back. I think he wants to be back, so those kinds of things usually work their way out."
Here's Griffen's full message:
"When I came to Minnesota as a fourth-round pick out of USC, I had no idea how much my life would change over the next 10 years. I realized my dream of playing in the NFL, went to four Pro Bowls and came within one game of playing in the Super Bowl in front of the best fans in the country.
"More importantly, I became a husband, a dad, and met teammates who became brothers for life. I also stumbled a few times on my journey and could not be more grateful for the unconditional support and love I received from SKOL Nation.
"While it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye, I leave Minnesota in the best physical and mental shape I have ever been and have many Pro Bowl seasons to come! Wherever my next stop is, I will always be grateful to and cheering for the Vikings.
"Thank you all for the love, support and memories."
Danielle Hunter restructures contract
Hunter, who signed a five-year, $72 million deal with the Vikings in June 2018, so the fact that his name is listed on the NFL's transaction report as "Signed, Renegotiated Contract" is a surprise.
Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press reports that Hunter renegotiated his deal to more $ million of his $10.9 million base salary in 2020 to signing bonuses that will be paid out evenly over the next four seasons. The move gives the Vikings an additional $6 million in cap space.