Vikingsâ€™ Griffen dealing with motherâ€™s passing
OCT 11, 2012 4:25p ET
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen was away from the team Thursday after his mother passed away Wednesday while visiting Griffen in the Twin Cities.
Griffen was in a meeting at the team facilities Wednesday when Eden Prairie police officers arrived at Winter Park and delivered the tragic news. Griffen was called out of the meeting and told in coach Leslie Frazier’s office that Sabrina Scott had passed away. Frazier called the death "completely unexpected” and said the cause of death hasn’t been determined.
Griffen, the team’s fourth-round pick out of USC in 2010, missed Thursday’s practice and will be out indefinitely.
"As you can imagine, it was tough news,” Frazier said after Thursday’s practice. "There was nothing that could have prepared him for that news. He wasn’t here today. 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.”
Frazier said he thought Scott had been in Minnesota for about a week. The two were reportedly very close. In an interview with the St. Paul Pioneer Press last week, Griffen said, "My mom had the biggest influence on my life. She always was there, and she made me into the man I became today.”
"It's hard,” Frazier said. "He loved his mom, like we all do. And to have no clue that something like this was on the horizon. It's tough. It's still tough, obviously.”
After the news of his mother’s passing, Frazier and several of the team’s players went to Griffen’s home Wednesday evening to offer support.
"I was so, so impressed with our players last night when we were at his home,” Frazier said. "Just the support, the way they reached out to him last night. Some of the guys that were there, the maturity that they showed, I drove away from his home obviously feeling terrible for Everson and his family. But to see the support that our players displayed and the way they handled themselves, I was really encouraged by it.”
Griffen, a backup defensive end who has become a pass-rushing specialist, has been one of the key members of a defense that has turned itself around in the past three wins. He’s tied with Jared Allen for the team lead with three sacks this season, just one off Griffen’s career-high set last season as he progressed into a hybrid defensive line/linebacker role in passing situations.
Frazier was visibly shaken while delivering the news to reporters Thursday. In trying to foster a family-type atmosphere with the 4-1 Vikings, Frazier has used his calm demeanor to guide a team that has dealt with several difficult issues recently.
This summer, linebacker Chad Greenway’s dad was dealing with issues related to leukemia. In September, cornerback Antoine Winfield’s brother was murdered in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
Frazier talked about being a father figure for his players.
"That's a hard one because Everson means a lot to me like all of our guys do,” Frazier said. "And I've seen the maturation in his life, and I told him that last night. I know his mom would be so proud of how he has grown up and become a young man that has made her very proud. It's hard to see him hurting. I lost my mother not long ago, and I know what that experience is like. It's hard. It's hard.”
Frazier said he’ll give Griffen as much time as he needs to cope with the news.
"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.”
Griffen is from Avondale, Ariz., where he was the Scout.com Player of the Year for the state and a consensus All-American at Agua Fria High School.
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