Vikings bolster secondary, agree to terms with safety Griffin
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- When safety Michael Griffin reached an agreement to join the Vikings, his twin brother texted him a photo.Marcus Griffin signed with Minnesota as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He lasted only two months with the team, but...
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - When safety Michael Griffin reached an agreement to join the Vikings, his twin brother texted him a photo.
Marcus Griffin signed with Minnesota as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He lasted only two months with the team, but the experience left a good impression.
“He sent me a photo with a picture that had his number for the Vikings, which was 35,” Griffin said Thursday. “He said he never wore it, and it had Griffin stitched on the back, so he joked that if they still had that jersey I could wear it.”
A free agent who played the past nine seasons with Tennessee, Griffin reached an agreement Wednesday to sign a one-year contract with the Vikings with a $2.5 million base salary, $750,000 guaranteed and a possible $500,000 in incentives. Griffin said he will fly to Minnesota today and sign the deal Monday.
Griffin said he won’t wear No. 35 and might not even go with the No. 33 he had with the Titans. He said he’s considering a return to the No. 27 he donned at the University of Texas, where he played alongside his twin. That number was unavailable when he joined the Titans in 2007 because it had been unofficially retired for running back Eddie George.
“It’s a fresh start for me,” Griffin said from Phoenix, where he is training. “It really feels good to have a team like the Vikings give me a chance. And I still remember them giving my brother a chance as an undrafted free agent.”
Griffin, 31, will compete with Andrew Sendejo for the starting strong safety job alongside free safety Harrison Smith. Sendejo this week signed a four-year, $16 million contract, but nothing is guaranteed past the first year.
“I’ve watched Sendejo play, and he did a great job in the playoff game against Seattle,” Griffin said of Minnesota’s 10-9 loss at TCF Bank Stadium. “But I’m a humble guy. I’m not the type of guy that comes in and says, ‘I’m starting.’ But there’s going to be competition.”
With only $750,000 in guaranteed money, Griffin will have to show something to make the team. Released by Tennessee in February with one year and a non-guaranteed $8 million left on his contract, he shrugged off the notion he has lost a step since he last made the Pro Bowl in 2010.
Griffin was let go after Tennessee brought in a new general manager in Jon Robinson and a new coach in Mike Mularkey. He said when he was called into the Titans offices and told of his release, he thought it best then to say goodbye and leave quickly.
“We went through four head coaches and five defensive coordinators when I was there, and I know that age and money played a part,” Griffin said. “This was the fourth time they were trying to rebuild the team since I got there, and I feel like I wasn’t in their plans.”
One of those defensive coordinators was Jerry Gray, now Minnesota’s defensive backs coach. Griffin said that played a key role in his decision to join the Vikings.
“He’s familiar with me, and it helps having (Vikings defensive end) Brian Robison. He was at the University of Texas when I was there, and it helps having a familiar face like him around when I come in,” Griffin said.