Photo credit: scout.com

Training camp is has already begun, but general manager Rick Spielman and his staff stayed busy behind the scenes by re-signing one of their star players.

When the Vikings decided to move on from aging defensive end Jared Allen after the 2013 season, they made Griffen the starting right defensive end and signed him to a five-year/$42.5 million deal with $20 million guaranteed. Many thought that was too much, but Griffen was certainly been  worth it and the deal later looked like a bargain.

Griffen was drafted in the fourth round (100th overall) by the Vikings in 2010 out of USC. In his first four seasons, he recorded 17.5 sacks in 59 games (one start). Since signing that deal and becoming a starter he has racked up 30.5 sacks in 47 games, including a career high 12 in 2014. He has made it to the Pro Bowl in each of the past two seasons.

After ranking 31st overall in total defense in 2013 and allowing the most points in the league, the Vikings since then have been ranked 14th, 13th and 3rd in total defense and also 11th, 5th and 6th in points allowed. Griffen’s presence has certainly played a huge role in the unit’s turnaround. Mike Zimmer being hired after the 2013 season has helped too, along with the play of Linval Joseph, Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith, Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr.

In addition to his play, Griffen has also been one of the vocal leaders on the team. The Vikings defense will continue to be among the best in the league and #97 will once be one of the main reasons for that. He has developed into one of the most feared pass rushers in the league.

This is a great move for the Vikings, who continue to keep their core players together.

The Vikings hope to also extend cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who is in the final year of his rookie contract. Down the road they will also need to re-sign players such as Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr, Linval Joseph, Danielle Hunter and Stefon Diggs.

It certainly won’t be easy, but the Vikings have done a great job of managing the salary cap the past 15 years and have shown the willingness to spend to make the team competitive.

You can follow Ali Siddiqui on Twitter @asiddiqui15 and @SPOT_Vikings for Vikings news and updates.

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