Vikings coach Mike Zimmer surely intended to compliment Everson Griffen when he said of his former player: “Yeah, I’ve seen some [film] with Dallas. They’ve been in some of the crossover games. Everson was a good player for us. I wish him well, just not this week.”
Griffen, though, took offense.
“This is the best I’ve felt in a long time, and I got a little frustrated when I read that comment what Zimmer said, ‘Oh, Everson was a good player,’” Griffen said Thursday, via Courtney Cronin of ESPN. “Like, coach Zimmer just wasn’t a good coach; he was a great coach to me. So for him to call me a good player, that kind of hurts my feelings.
“On Sunday, I’m really looking forward to playing the Vikings and showing them that I am a great player. I’m excited. I’m ready to execute. My mental health is strong. My physical health is strong. My mind is strong, and I’m ready to go out there and dominate. I’m ready to create, adapt and go out there and win.”
Griffen spent 10 seasons in Minnesota, including six with Zimmer. He earned Pro Bowl honors four times and ranks fourth in team history with 74.5 sacks.
Griffen, 32, opted out of his contract with the Vikings after the 2019 season and became a free agent in March. He signed with the Cowboys in August and spent seven weeks in Dallas before the Cowboys traded him to Detroit for a conditional sixth-round draft pick in 2021.
Players use anything and everything as motivation, and Griffen made it clear he felt slighted by Zimmer’s words. He later tweeted he expected more from Zimmer after he “gave everything for that team.”
“They’re going to put some respect on my name,” Griffen said. “He going to put respect on my name. That’s all I’m saying. Like he just wasn’t a good coach to me; he was a great coach. He helped me improve, helped me grow. I don’t ever talk bad about people, so for him to call me a good player, all right, I got something for him on Sunday.”
Griffen has 2.5 sacks this season.