On July 26, 2017, Griffen signed a four-year, $58 million contract extension ($34 million guaranteed) with the Vikings through the 2022 season. He was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month in October. Griffen recorded at least one sack in each of the Vikings first eight games and is on pace to break his own record of 12 sacks, a mark he got in the 2014 season. Only Jim Marshall and Jared Allen hold the Vikings record for a sack in at least eight straight games; Marshall achieved it in 1969, Allen in 2011.
Griffen had an impressive showing as a first-year true freshman backup defensive end in 2007, playing primarily in pass rushing situations. Overall, in 2007, while appearing in all 13 games (2 starts), he totaled 21 tackles, including 5.5 for losses of 30 yards (all were sacks), two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and two pass deflections. He became the first USC true freshman to start an opener on the defensive line in 21 seasons since Tim Ryan in 1986 against Illinois and the first true freshman to start on the defensive line since Shaun Cody did so in 2001 against Utah.
Everson Griffen (born December 22, 1987) is an American football defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL). A graduate of Agua Fria High School, Griffen attended and played college football at USC. He was selected by the Vikings in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft and played for them for 10 seasons before signing with the Dallas Cowboys in 2020. He was traded to the Lions later that year, then re-signed with the Vikings in August 2021.
Following his high school career, Griffen was selected to play in the 2007 U.S. Army All-American Bowl along with fellow USC recruits Marc Tyler, Kristofer O'Dowd, Joe McKnight, and Chris Galippo. During the recruiting process, he took official visits to USC, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon, UCLA, and Florida before committing to the Trojans on November 24, 2006.
In the Trojans' 24–3 victory over Oregon State on November 3, Griffen posted six tackles and a career-high 3.5 of USC's nine total sacks to earn Rivals.com National Freshman of the Week honors. On November 22, he had six tackles, one sack, and one fumble recovery that set up a USC touchdown at Arizona State. For his season efforts in 2007, he was named to the Sporting News Freshman All-American first team, Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-American first team, Rivals.com Freshman All-American first team, Scout.com Freshman All-American first team and Collegefootballnews.com Freshman All-American second team, plus was the Sporting News Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year and was an All-Pac-10 honorable mention pick.
In his sophomore year in 2008, Griffen was USC's pass rush specialist as a backup defensive end. He appeared in all 12 games (all but Washington State, missed due to illness) and started the first three games (Virginia, Ohio State and Oregon State) for the Trojans, compiling 18 tackles, including 6 for losses of 43 yards (with 4.5 sacks for minus 39 yards). He had three tackles against Oregon State and California and two tackles against Virginia, Ohio State, Oregon and Stanford (1.5 for losses).
In 2009, Griffen was second team All Pac-10.
On July 4, 2009, at a Fourth of July party on Nantucket Island, Griffen and a teammate, linebacker Jordan Campbell, were cited by the Nantucket Police Department for a noise violation; no charges were filed and the two agreed to write a letter of apology. Overall, he finished the 2009 season with 45 total tackles, eight sacks, one pass defensed, and one forced fumble.
Griffen was selected by the Minnesota Vikings with the second pick in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, becoming the 100th player selected overall. After being inactive for the opening five games of the season, he played in the final 11 games, finishing his rookie year with 11 tackles, all of them solo. On January 28, 2011, Griffen was arrested in Los Angeles for public intoxication. Three days later, he was arrested again after he was found driving with an invalid drivers license. He then tried to flee on foot only to be tased.
After a quiet performance early in the 2012 season, he came on strong late in the season, posting five sacks, one interception returned for a touchdown, and 16 quarterback hurries in the final seven games. His first sack of the year came in Week 2 as he brought down Andrew Luck for a 22-yard loss against the Indianapolis Colts. It was the third-longest sack in team history. On October 11, 2012, Griffen was given an indefinite leave from the team after his mother died.
Griffen and his wife, Tiffany, have three sons. Their oldest son, Greyson, was born in 2013 and their second son, Ellis, was born in 2015. Their third and youngest son, Sebastian Gregory, was born on November 23, 2017.
In 2013, Griffen was used all over the defensive line, playing in all 16 games with no starts. He finished the 2013 season with 5.5 sacks, including 2.5 in the final two games of the regular season. On September 29, he recorded the game-winning strip-sack on Ben Roethlisberger against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL International Series game at London.
Griffen ended his second year as a starter tied for fourth in the NFC and twelfth in the league with 10.5 sacks, becoming the first player in a Mike Zimmer defense ever to record double-digit sacks in back-to-back seasons (he had 12 in 2014). On January 14, Griffen was picked to take the place of Houston's defensive end J. J. Watt in the 2016 NFL Pro Bowl, marking his first career invitation to the annual showcase game in Hawaii.
On March 9, 2014, Griffen re-signed with the Vikings on a five-year contract worth $42.5 million, including $20 million guaranteed. He enjoyed a breakout season in his first year as a full-time starter, helping the Vikings revamped defense have the most improved defense in the NFL. He started all 16 games after entering the season with one start in his first four seasons with the Vikings. On October 19, Griffen had a career day against the Buffalo Bills in Week 7 when he recorded a career-high nine tackles and tied a career-high with 3 sacks.
On October 18, 2015, Griffen missed the game against the Kansas City Chiefs due to an illness. Griffen was selected as the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 17, becoming the third Vikings player to win the NFC Defensive Player of the Week award in 2015, joining nose tackle Linval Joseph and cornerback Terence Newman. In the game against the Green Bay Packers, Griffen registered two sacks on Aaron Rodgers, including a strip-sack that was recovered by cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, who returned it for a 55-yard touchdown in the Vikings' 20-13 win; in addition, he also added four quarterback hits and six tackles, three of which were for a loss.
On December 19, 2017, Griffen was named to his third straight Pro Bowl. In the Vikings' Divisional Playoff game against the New Orleans Saints, Griffen tipped a Drew Brees pass that ended up being intercepted by teammate Anthony Barr. The Vikings went on to win 29-24 and advance to the NFC Championship, where their season ended against the Philadelphia Eagles. He was ranked #19 by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018.
On Thursday, September 20, 2018, Griffen and his agent were sent a letter from the Minnesota Vikings, stating that he would not be allowed back with the team until he underwent a mental health evaluation. Two days later, on Saturday, September 22, Griffen was involved in an incident at Hotel Ivy where he had allegedly threatened to shoot someone because he was not allowed in his room. On September 25, 2018, it was revealed that Griffen was taken to the hospital for a mental health evaluation. On November 24th, 2021 Griffen locked himself in his home with a .45 Caliber pistol stating "I'm in my house. Nigger trying to pop me." He came out around 2:30 pm without incident.
On January 21, 2020, Griffen was named to the 2020 Pro Bowl to replace Nick Bosa since the latter's team (San Francisco 49ers) made it to Super Bowl LIV. It was the 4th time Griffen had been selected to the Pro Bowl in his career.
On February 20, 2020, Griffen opted out of his contract, making him a free agent at the start of the new league year on March 18.
On August 16, 2020, Griffen signed a one-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys. Days after signing with Dallas, Griffen said the reason that he chose them was because he grew up a Cowboys fan and was named after legendary Cowboys defensive back Everson Walls. His arrival generated a great expectation that he could be part of a formidable pass-rushing unit along with defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence, Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory.
On October 27, 2020, the Cowboys traded Griffen to the Lions in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick (#192-Quinton Bohanna) in the 2021 NFL Draft. In Week 10 against the Washington Football Team, Griffen recorded his first quarterback hurry with the Lions on Alex Smith during the 30–27 win. Griffen was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list by the team on December 12, 2020, and activated on December 23. He registered 2 starts in 7 games, 13 tackles (4 for loss), 3.5 sacks, 8 quarterback hits and 3 passes defensed.
On August 23, 2021, Griffen signed a deal with the Minnesota Vikings. He was a part of initial roster cuts on August 31, 2021 but re-signed with the team on September 2, 2021. Griffen suffered a concussion on September 18 after crashing his car while swerving to avoid a deer in the road. He was subsequently ruled out for week 2. On November 26, Griffen was placed on the non-football illness list under dealing with a personal mental health issue earlier in the week.