Minnesota Vikings excuse Everson Griffen after mother's death

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen has been excused from the team indefinitely following the sudden death of his mother.

Griffen missed practice Thursday, one day after police arrived at the team's headquarters to deliver the news to him, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. No details of Griffen's mother's death were immediately available. The Associated Press left a message with Chanhassen police seeking comment.

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"As you can imagine, it was tough news," Frazier said. "There was nothing that could have prepared him for that news. ... I'm not sure what his status will be going forward. Our prayers as an organization, as teammates are with he and his family. This is a difficult time for him, as you can imagine. We'll be there to support him as best we can."

Griffen's mother was in town visiting her son. Frazier and several Vikings players went to Griffen's house Wednesday night to comfort him.

"It's hard. He loved his mom, like we all do," Frazier said. "And to have no clue that something like this was on the horizon. It's tough. It's still tough, obviously."

Griffen is a key player for the Vikings on special teams and has become a valued and versatile backup on the defensive line and at linebacker for the defense. The Avondale, Ariz., native is in his third year out of USC.

"There is no timetable," Frazier said. "I explained to him yesterday he needs to go through the grieving process properly and don't be thinking about no football. Just doing whatever he needs to do away from football. His mom was very, very close to him. This is going to be a tough deal for him."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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