An NFL player has been hospitalized after suffering a “mental breakdown” on Saturday during which he threatened to shoot staff at a hotel in Minneapolis.
Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen is receiving mental health treatment after an afternoon of erratic behavior that continued even as he was en route to the hospital, when he tried to jump out of an ambulance in a paranoid trance.
According to his wife Tiffany and Vikings’ player development director Leslie Pico, Griffen had been sleepless and unstable in the days and weeks leading up to the so-called meltdown.
Vikings player suffers paranoid breakdown
Griffen was taken to the hospital on Saturday after an afternoon of erratic behavior that started at the Ivy Hotel in downtown Minneapolis around 1:30 p.m. The police were summoned there after Griffen began threatening to assault staffers.
Police audio also indicated that he was threatening to shoot someone if he wasn’t allowed in his room, where he had been staying for the week. No gun was seen, and he left before the police arrived.
Vikings director of security Kim Klawiter called the police to check on Griffen’s wife and their three children, and an officer met with her at a park, where described his recent odd behavior, saying that he had been sleepless for days and would sometimes disappear in the middle of the night because of “demons” in his head.
He had returned home on Wednesday for about an hour after a three-day disappearance only to vanish again until Saturday morning, when he came back briefly and started arguing again with his wife. He left home that morning in a rage to go to the Ivy.
The officer called Griffen on the phone, who started rambling that he would “be gone for a week.”
Griffen’s wife notified police later Saturday that Griffen was trying to break into his teammate Trae Waynes’ home down the street. Moments later, she told police that Griffen had hitched a ride with a stranger in a pick-up truck, who brought him home. The man had met Griffen at a gas station.
When police showed up to Griffen’s residence, he was rambling incoherently about “777,” a reference to angels, and said that he went to Waynes’ home because “God made me do it.” According to the police report, he feared that people were out to kill him.
“He stated he wasn’t crazy, but he felt people were trying to kill him,” the report noted. “When asked who, he stated Tiffany, his mother in law, and everybody. Everson asked if I knew his parents and if I killed them.”
He agreed to be taken to the hospital and then leaped out of the ambulance and ran. He eventually surrendered and was escorted to the hospital.
Banned from practice
Griffen was listed as sidelined on Sunday’s game against Buffalo for a knee injury, but head coach Mike Zimmer told reporters that he was absent from the game because of a “personal matter.”
Pico told police that he told Griffen on Thursday that he needs to get mentally evaluated before coming back to practice. He said that Griffen had been “explosive, screaming and yelling” at practices recently.
Zimmer called Griffen a “good kid” and wished him the best.
“We’re going to do everything we possibly can, not only to help Everson, but all of the players on our team, and not just them but their families as well,” Zimmer said on Tuesday.