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Everson Griffen, Minnesota Vikings strike 5-year deal

Although new Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has obvious interest in reconnecting with free-agent pass rusher Michael Johnson, he also has big plans for one of his own defensive ends.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports, via a person who has seen the deal, that the Vikings are re-signing would-be free agent Everson Griffen to a five-year, $42.5 million contract with $20 million in guaranteed money.

Griffen's new deal will pay him in the upper echelon of pass rushers over the first three seasons, per Rapoport.

One of the most intriguing free agents on Around The League's top 101 list, Griffen is a versatile, physically gifted young player who flashed dominant pass-rushing ability behind Jared Allen and Brian Robison.

In addition to his 13.5 sacks, Griffen has generated an impressive 62 quarterback hurries over the past two seasons, according to Pro Football Focus.

Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman clearly view Griffen as an ascendent player ready to move into a starting role now that Allen is seeking greener pastures in free agency.

Rapoport reported Sunday that, as expected, Allen and the Vikings parted ways Saturday night.

Griffen's lucrative deal would seem to make it less likely that Johnson will wind up in Minneapolis, particularly since he reportedly has at least a half-dozen suitors lined up.

With defensive end sewn up, Spielman can turn his attention to cornerback Alterraun Verner instead.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" picks the biggest free agent bargains and plays the revolutionary game: "Get my lunch."

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