EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen is planning to travel with the team to Washington and play in Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins following the unexpected death of his mother, saying that is what she would have wanted.
"She loved to watch me play, and that's why I'm back here to show her that I'm doing this for her," Griffen said. "Not just for her but for me, too, that I'm growing into a man and just working hard."
Griffen returned to practice Friday after missing the previous day. He learned Wednesday of the death of his mother, Sabrina Scott, who'd been in town visiting him.
"Just shocking. My mom was 100 percent healthy. We'll find out soon what the cause was," Griffen said, declining to go into more detail.
The third-year pro from USC, who is tied for the Vikings lead with three sacks this season, said he's trying to stay strong for his brother, father and stepfather. The maturity his mother tried to teach him suddenly has become more important than ever for Griffen, a native of Avondale, Ariz., who with his fiancee is expecting his first child in January.
"It's not about me no more. It's about my family," Griffen said, describing his mother as "just a wonderful lady" with an outgoing, engaging personality.
"I'm just happy to have a mom like that and one day we'll meet again," Griffen said. "She's in a better place right now, and I know the Lord has her."
Several of Griffen's teammates visited him Wednesday night after he received the bad news.
"That's the only reason I'm here because I feel safe here," he said, adding: "It kind of helps me ease the pain a little bit, but it's still a tremendous and deep burning inside."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press