Everson Griffen offered an introspective look at his life over the past few months and discussed the difficulties that came with returning to the field while dealing with personal issues related to his mental health.
At the start of offseason workouts, the Minnesota Vikings defensive end said he's in a place where he finally feels like himself again after a "rough year." Griffen was hospitalized when concerns arose over his well-being last September, which led to him miss five weeks of the 2018 season.
"It's a progression each and every day," Griffen said Tuesday. "I'm taking it day by day, staying consistent with my life outside of football with those matters and stuff like that, and I'm happy. I'm happy.
"Am I back to myself? Yeah, I'm back to smiling, joking, that fun guy to be around, but I truly have an understanding of the things that I have to hold myself accountable with day in and day out. That's what I took upon myself this offseason to handle and make sure I got a good handle on that, to be able to come back with an open mind and ready to play football at a high level again."
Griffen returned to action in a Week 8 loss to New Orleans and finished the season with 5.5 sacks, his lowest output since his days as a situational pass-rusher in 2013. Getting back to his routine as a football player came with its own set of challenges. While the Pro Bowl defensive end applauded the Vikings organization for handling his situation "perfectly," trying to work through what he was dealing with off the field while maintaining his production on it proved difficult.