The Vikings announced on Monday afternoon that they have brought back the veteran defensive end. Griffen split last season with the Dallas Cowboys (seven games) and Detroit Lions (seven games). He recorded a total of six sacks and four passes defended.
A four-time Pro Bowler, Griffen recorded eight-plus sacks in six different seasons with the Vikings. He was instrumental in guiding them to playoff berths in 2015, 2017 and 2019. They advanced to the NFC Championship in 2017, falling to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Minnesota’s usually stingy defense struggled last season without Griffen, Anthony Barr (limited to two games) and Danielle Hunter, who missed the entire 2020 campaign after undergoing neck surgery.
But with those three back in the fold, Minnesota’s defense should return to its usual stingy form under head coach Mike Zimmer.
For his career, Griffen has 80.5 sacks, 20 passes defended and nine forced fumbles in 161 games.
The Vikings have the second best odds of winning the NFC North at +250 behind the Packers (+160). Football fans can secure BetMGM Promo codes if they want to take advantage of the odds heading into next season.
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Carson Wentz Could Play In Week 1
Earlier this month, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz underwent foot surgery, and it was initially announced that he would be out for five to 12 weeks.
But there’s a chance that he’ll be able to suit up for the Colts’ Week 1 home tilt against the Seattle Seahawks. Per Olivia Ray of Wish TV, Wentz sounded keen on the possibility of playing in the season opener.
“I’ve played through a lot worse, but it’s going to come down to what the doctors say.”
Following a frustrating 2020 season that saw Wentz lose the starting job to Jalen Hurts, the Eagles traded Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a 2021 third-rounder plus a conditional 2022 second-round selection that could become a first.
The trade reunited Wentz with head coach Frank Reich, who served as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator during Wentz’s rookie and sophomore seasons.
Wentz was enjoying a career year in 2017 before suffering a torn ACL in Week 14 against the Los Angeles Rams that abruptly ended his season. Quarterback Nick Foles took over and led the Eagles to their first ever Super Bowl championship.
The Colts are coming off an 11-5 season that saw them qualify for the playoffs. They fell to the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card round, and starting quarterback Philip Rivers retired following a one-year stop in Indianapolis.
For the fourth straight season, the Colts will open the season with a fresh face at quarterback.
Las Vegas Reportedly Tried Acquiring Khalil Mack
We’re nearing the three-year anniversary of the blockbuster trade that saw the Raiders trade 2016 Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears.
Before Week 1, the Raiders sent Mack plus a 2020 second rounder and a conditional fifth-round selection to the Bears in exchange for 2019 and 2020 first-rounders as well as a 2019 sixth and a 2020 third-round selection. Chicago then handed Mack a massive six-year extension worth $141 million.
According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required), the Raiders called the cap-strapped Bears regarding a potential trade for Mack. However, Chicago reportedly wasn’t interested in dealing its franchise star.
The Raiders finished 8-8 last season despite fielding one of the NFL’s worst defenses. They finished 25th in total defense and 30th in scoring defense. The Raiders also recorded just 21 sacks last season. In comparison, Mack had nine all by himself in 2020.
Though the Raiders have fielded a potent offense under Jon Gruden, he and GM Mike Mayock haven’t been able to fill the void left by Mack.
In three seasons with the Bears (46 total games), Mack has racked up 30 sacks, 11 passes defended and 14 forced fumbles. Chicago has made the playoffs twice under Mack, including a surprise NFC North division-winning season in 2018.
In order to address the pass rush, the Raiders wound up signing sacks specialist Yannick Ngakoue to a two-year contract worth $36 million. Last season, Ngakoue had eight sacks in 15 games — split with the Vikings and Baltimore Ravens.
Since Gruden returned to the sidelines three years ago, the Raiders have gone 19-29. The pressure is on Gruden and company to finally end a five-year playoff drought in 2021, otherwise owner Mark Davis may feel inclined to bring in changes.