The Minnesota Vikings played Sunday's humiliating 27-6 loss to the Buffalo Bills without star defensive end Everson Griffen.
The absence of one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL undoubtedly hurt the Vikings' typically stellar defense. Beyond that, if Griffen's teammates were aware of the underlying reason Griffen was sitting out, they would have played Sunday's game under a cloud of distraction and fear for their teammate's mental health.
KSTP reports Griffen, 30, was confronted by Minneapolis police officers on Saturday, following an alarming incident at the Hotel Ivy in downtown Minneapolis. A 911 call made from the hotel said a man (later identified by KSTP as Griffen) had said, "if someone doesn't let him back into his room he's gonna shoot someone" -- though if Griffen had a gun on him, he didn't show it to anyone.
Griffen also spent time "laying on the hotel lobby floor," per KSTP, and threatened to assault hotel staff, who moved to the back office during his tirade.
Cops arriving at the scene let Griffen go without arresting him, and department spokesman John Elder says no gun was seen. (Whether cops searched Griffen to see if he was carrying, isn't clear from the TV report.) Vikings general manager Rick Spielman issued a statement to KSTP saying the team is "aware of the situation" and "certainly concerned by what we have heard," adding:
"We are currently focused on Everson's well-being and providing the appropriate support for him and his family."
About a month ago, Griffen endured some blowback after he posted a smiling photo of him and his wife during a visit to the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, which some viewed as disrespectful. Griffen took the photo down and posted a statement explaining the photo, writing in part: "I'm very different from you because I make my own way. I don't go with the flow of water, I am the flow."
Griffen has played his entire nine-year career with the Vikings, and made the Pro Bowl each of the past three seasons, and his 13 sacks last year tied for fourth-best in the NFL. His playing status going forward remains unclear.