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Mike Zimmer on Everson Griffen: I thought we had a good relationship

Mike Florio explains why he expects the Vikings to hold serve at home against a Lions team who is dealing with COVID issues.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer intended to compliment Everson Griffen with his comments Thursday. The defensive end instead took Zimmer calling him a “good player” as a diss.

On Friday, Zimmer confirmed he was trying to pay respect to Griffen and remains uncertain why Griffen took offense.

“I did [see Griffen’s comments]. I don’t know,” Zimmer said, via Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune. “I wasn’t trying to be derogatory. I think I made him a captain my first or second year here. He’s always been a terrific leader for us, always done everything we tried to ask him to do.

“I thought we had a good relationship. I don’t feel like I was being derogatory at all. I think Everson understands how I feel about him. I thought he did, anyway.”

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. He now plays for Detroit after seven games with the Cowboys, who traded him to the Lions.

“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. “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.”