A Free Agent Pass Rusher Is Available if Vikings Are in the Mood

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**Edit — The Adam Schefter tweet was nullified, and Randy Gregory was traded to the San Francisco 49ers on October 6th.

In 2021, Randy Gregory tallied 12 QB pressures and 6 sacks in 12 games as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.

A year and a half later, he was released by the Denver Broncos, soon hitting the free-agent market.

A Free Agent Pass Rusher Is Available if Vikings Are in the Mood

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Wednesday morning, ‘Sources: Broncos are releasing LB Randy Gregory. The team wants to focus on young players. Gregory will be a free agent.”

Pass Rusher Is Available
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

A shocking transaction to be sure, the Broncos will evidently pivot to a younger EDGE rusher in Nik Bonitto, a 2nd-Rounder from the 2022 NFL Draft. Gregory joined Denver during the 2022 offseason, banking a five-year contract and $70 million. Like most NFL deals, the agreement, in essence, was only meaningful for two years, and cutting bait with Gregory a few months early was apparently the priority for Denver.

Gregory will be free to sign anywhere in the league as early as Wednesday and should command a robust group of suitors.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports.

ESPN’s Jeff Legwold explained the release in greater detail, “Gregory and his representatives had asked for his release earlier this week, sources told ESPN. Coach Sean Payton, general manager George Paton and owner/CEO Greg Penner discussed Gregory’s contract, potential playing time and his mindset and decided that releasing him was the way to go, sources told ESPN.”

The 30-year-old has played in 60 games since 2015, starting 18, and tabulated 106 tackles, 19.5 sacks, 61 QB hits, and 23 tackles for loss.

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory (94) waves goodbye to the New York Giants defense after a Giants turnover in the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Giants fell to the Cowboys, 21-6, on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, in East Rutherford. © Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Gregory has no clear-cut ties to the Vikings current front office or coaching staff, but the organization saw what life was like without outside linebacker Marcus Davenport for three games — dismal. Davenport missed most of the Vikings first three contests, all losses, and the pass rush struggled to get home if the player’s name was not Danielle Hunter.

Adding Gregory, in theory, would increase the Vikings pass-rushing depth and hedge the bet against another Davenport injury. Reservist EGDE defenders D.J. Wonnum and Patrick Jones didn’t produce much in Davenport’s stead from Week 1 to Week 3.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports.

It’s worth noting that Gregory has battled various NFL suspensions, preventing his career from fully taking shape in the last nine seasons. Regardless, here’s a look at his Pro Football Focus Resume since 2015:

  • 2015: 61.8
  • 2016: 30.4
  • 2017: DNP
  • 2018: 62.7
  • 2019: DNP
  • 2020: 80.5
  • 2021: 78.6
  • 2022: 76.9
  • 2023: 44.7 (4 games)

Gregory should be relatively affordable after the Broncos release, and the Vikings own about $10 million in cap space as of October 3rd.

The Vikings play the Broncos in Denver 46 days from now.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.