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Vikings' Griffen sacked by well-wishers

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) before the October 4 game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Photo by Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

MINNEAPOLIS — Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen is known for being a tough guy, but he got sentimental Thursday when discussing how his teammates reached out to him during an illness.

Griffen returned to practice after missing last weekend’s 16-10 victory over Kansas City because of a condition he wouldn’t reveal. Griffen said he spent several hours in the hospital before being released but has no doubt he’ll play Sunday at Detroit.

Griffen said he has received plenty of support from teammates. That included running back Adrian Peterson writing in a text message, “I love you, man.”

“They showed a lot of love with text messages and calls, and I needed that,” Griffen said before practice Thursday. “I’m happy to be on this team with my teammates. They love me, and I love them back.”

Griffen he was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center and reporting he didn’t feel well Sunday morning.

“I just felt sick,” he said. “I just felt like I wasn’t all the way where I needed to be and I went in and I talked to (athletic trainer Eric Sugarman) and they handled it accordingly. And I’m thankful for that, because I could have went out there and gotten injured or something bad could have happened worse.

“But I went to Hennepin and everything checked out right and I’m happy to be back and I’m getting ready for Detroit.”

Griffen said he was able to catch the final five minutes of Minnesota’s win on TV. He said he missed practice Wednesday to have some tests done, but wouldn’t disclose their nature or any of the symptoms of his illness.

“That’s not my job to release all my medical information; that’s private and I’m going to keep it that way,” he said.

Griffen said he expects to be “100 percent” against the Lions. Coach Mike Zimmer said the team captain “looked good” and “practiced hard” while going through a full practice Thursday.

The Vikings could be without another starting lineman Sunday. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd missed his second straight day of practice because of knee and ankle injuries suffered against the Chiefs.

“We’ll have to see,” Zimmer said.

Zimmer said Floyd knows the game plan well enough to play Sunday if he can return for Friday’s practice. If he can’t, Tom Johnson would take his place.

“He’s done a good job all year,” Zimmer said. “I think we should be fine.”

Rookie Danielle Hunter replaced Griffen on Sunday and responded with a half sack and late in the game forced a key fumble.

“Everson just told me I played my butt off,” Hunter said. “He was proud of me the way I went in there and stepped up and took over for him.”

Mostly, though, it has been teammates reaching out to Griffen. Hunter said he sent Griffen a message before the Chiefs game vowing to make him proud.

Griffen is one of Minnesota’s four team captains. Co-captain Peterson sent a text to Griffen to wish him a speedy recovery.

“These guys in this locker room, especially guys like Everson, being around into the flow for a long time now, we’re like brothers,” Peterson said. “So, anytime you see your brother going through something, not feeling well, whatever it might be, you want to reach out to let that person know that, ‘Hey, I love you.’ ”