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Mike Zimmer walks back ‘hurtful’ comments pointed at new Lions DE Everson Griffen

Vikings, Everson Griffen, Mike Zimmer

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer elaborated on some brief comments he made about former Vikes defensive end Everson Griffen.

The 32-year-old Griffen, now a member of the Detroit Lions, felt disrespected by Zimmer simply calling him a “good” player. Griffen explained he felt slighted because he held Zimmer to a higher esteem as a head coach, and sought reciprocation in terms of praise.

Zimmer was asked about Griffen’s comments Friday, explaining he was not trying to undersell Griffen’s contributions with Minnesota and citing the fact he made Griffen a captain:

“I did. I don’t know, I wasn’t trying to be derogatory,” Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said, via Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune. “I think Everson. 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.”

Zimmer also said he felt he had a string relationship with Griffen:

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

Griffen made four Pro Bowls in his last five seasons with the Vikings, but had a somewhat contentious departure from Minnesota.

The Vikings elected not to re-sign Griffen and really never even engaged him with a serious offer. Griffen subsequently signed with the Dallas Cowboys, but was traded to the Lions ahead of this past Tuesday’s trade deadline.

Griffen will have the opportunity to seek vengeance–and apparently to prove something–against his former head coach when the Lions face the Vikings on Sunday.