Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen is being evaluated at a Minneapolis-area hospital days after he was allegedly involved in incidents that caused team leadership to be concerned for his well-being.
According to a Minnetrista, Minnesota, police incident report, Les Pico, the Vikings' executive director of player development, told police that Griffen had been "explosive, screaming and yelling" at the team facility and that he had been struggling in recent weeks. Vikings director of security Kim Klawiter told police that the team told Griffen not to play Sunday against the Buffalo Bills and to "go get his head straight." When Griffen reported to the team facility for practice Saturday, he was sent home.
The incident report indicated that Pico also told police that team management had sent Griffen and his agent a letter last Thursday that stated Griffen would not be allowed back with the team until he underwent a mental health evaluation. Sources told ESPN's Courtney Cronin that such a letter was never sent to Griffen or his representatives.
A league source told Cronin that Griffen was told by the Vikings not to worry about practice last week or the Bills game and to instead place his focus on getting himself help. The source indicated that both sides were in agreement that Griffen would stay away from the facility until he was in a better mental state. At no time, sources said, was Griffen banned from the Vikings' training facility.
Pico told police that Griffen, 30, had not done or said anything that led the team to believe that he was a danger to himself or others. Pico said he intended to meet with Griffen on Saturday at Hotel Ivy, where Griffen had been staying. Pico told police that upon meeting Griffen at the hotel, the defensive end forgot why he wanted to speak to him and did not want to talk to him anymore.
According to a separate incident report obtained earlier Tuesday by ESPN, authorities from the Minneapolis Police Department were called Saturday to Hotel Ivy because an individual was threatening to shoot someone if he wasn't allowed in his room.
Though his name was redacted from the Hotel Ivy incident report, sources told Cronin that the individual in question at the hotel is Griffen.
Following the incident at the hotel Saturday, Griffen allegedly attempted to break in to the home of teammate Trae Waynes before climbing into a stranger's truck and being driven to his home in Minnetrista, according to an incident report.
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Waynes denied that Griffen attempted to break in to his home.
"To clarify, there was no attempted break-in at our home and at no point did my family or I feel unsafe. We are friends with the Griffen family and we are here to support them in any way possible during these trying times," he said.
Minnetrista Police then met with Griffen at his home. Asked by police why he went to Waynes' home, Griffen said that "God made me do it" and later agreed to go to the hospital. The reporting officer placed a health and welfare hold on Griffen "based upon his actions and information I had acquired about him."
While waiting for the ambulance to take him to the hospital, Griffen reportedly told an officer about people trying to kill him. Griffen also jumped out of the ambulance, saying he was in fear of someone shooting him, before ultimately being calmed and taken to the hospital.
A league source told ESPN's Josina Anderson that Griffen is "getting assistance on personal matters" and that the league is "comfortable he has a good support system around him."
The police incident report notes that no criminal charges are forthcoming.
The defensive end did not practice last week and was listed as having a knee injury. The Vikings ruled him out of Sunday's game against the Bills because of the injury, and coach Mike Zimmer said after the game that Griffen was not in attendance because he was dealing with a personal matter.
Sources told Anderson that a number of Vikings players and coaches were not aware of Saturday's incident, even at game time on Sunday.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said Monday night in a statement that the team was "currently focused on Everson's well-being and providing the appropriate support for him and his family."
At a news conference Tuesday, Zimmer at first referred to Spielman's statement before saying that "the only thing I'm really concerned for Everson about isn't anything to do with football, it's about him getting better."
"He's always been a really, really good model for us, and obviously he's going through some tough times right now," the coach added.
Zimmer noted that Griffen would not have been able to play Sunday due to the knee injury.
A three-time Pro Bowler, Griffen registered a half-sack in each of the Vikings' first two games. He has a career total of 62, which ranks 17th among active players.