Everson Griffen didn't miss a chance to participate in early offseason activities with the Minnesota Vikings, even though the defensive end is waiting on a contract as an unrestricted free agent.

Griffen joined the team for the Arctic Blast snowmobile rally and said he was just "playing my role." He downplayed the significance of participating in team activities despite his pending free agency. Griffen wants his responsibilities with Minnesota to extend beyond an offseason fundraiser.

"Once a Viking, always a Viking," Griffen said earlier this month about taking part in the Arctic Blast. "And what I can do to get my face out there more and show them that I want to be here and I want to win a championship here and get this team to the next level, which I know I can do. And hopefully that happens so we can get the ball rolling and take the Minnesota Vikings to a place where we know we can go."

Griffen wants to remain with the team that drafted him in the fourth round out of Southern California in 2010. The two sides had talked about a contract extension for Griffen, 26, since last season. Yet one change has made Griffen's desire to stay with the Vikings even stronger.

Mike Zimmer's hiring as the new head coach has excited the players, even the ones hoping for a contract.