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Report: Vikings give big money to Everson Griffen; Jared Allen out

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With free agency looming, the Minnesota Vikings locked up one of their best young defensive players when they came to terms on a new contract with defensive end Everson Griffen on Sunday, according to multiple reports.

The contract is massive, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Star Tribune reports that Griffen will make $27 million over the first three years of the deal.

The 26-year-old finished with seven sacks in 2012 and that number dropped to 5.5 last season. He spent time as a backup at both defensive end positions, as well as rushing on third downs as a defensive tackle.

Griffen will take over as a starting defensive end in place of Jared Allen. Allen's agent told the Pioneer Press that Allen will be leaving Minnesota, although it's unknown which team he'll sign with.

The Vikings also reportedly agreed to terms with quarterback Matt Cassel on Friday. Another report from FOX Sports says linebacker Jasper Brinkley is returning to Minnesota. Brinkley was Minnesota's starting middle linebacker in 2012 and he could resume that role as a replacement for Erin Henderson, who was recently released.

Teams can officially sign free agents beginning Tuesday, but a three-day grace period to talk with free agents began Saturday. The Vikings reportedly met with Bengals prized free agent Michael Johnson, another defensive end who has been connected to the Vikings through new head coach Mike Zimmer.

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