It’s Jihad Ward for the Vikings

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings needed EDGE depth after losing Danielle Hunter, Marcus Davenport, and D.J. Wonnum this offseason, and they’ll get it in the form of Jihad Ward.

It’s Jihad Ward for the Vikings

Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling tweeted Wednesday, “Two more linebacking additions for the Vikings: They’ve signed linebacker Jihad Ward, and agreed to terms with Kamu Grugier-Hill.”

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports.

Ward visited Minnesota on Tuesday, and the franchise didn’t let him continue a free-agent tour. He’s a Viking.

Ward’s signing mate, Kamu Grugier-Hill, is an off-ball linebacker, so he’ll serve as depth behind men like Ivan Pace Jr., Blake Cashman, and Brian Asamoah. Ward, on the other hand, is an outside linebacker, a reservist option behind newly-added Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel. Overall, here’s Minnesota’s EDGE room as of March 20th:

  • Jonathan Greenard
  • Andrew Van Ginkel
  • Patrick Jones II
  • Jihad Ward
  • Andre Carter II
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Between now and the end of draft weekend — about five weeks away — the group should add 2-3 more names. Stay tuned.

Ward, 29, is a journeyman like Grugier-Hill. This is his NFL resume to date:

  • Oakland Raiders (2016–2017)
  • Dallas Cowboys (2018)
  • Indianapolis Colts (2018–2019)
  • Baltimore Ravens (2019–2020)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (2021)
  • New York Giants (2022–2023)
  • Minnesota Vikings (2024)

That’s seven teams in nine seasons for Ward, the exact total as Grugier-Hill. Ward was a 2nd-Round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Las Vegas Raiders, but his time out west was cut short by injury. The man, however, has played in every single regular season game since the start of 2021. Injury concerns are behind him.

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Here’s his Pro Football Focus resume over the last eight seasons:

  • 2016 = 44.8
  • 2017 = 53.0
  • 2018 = 75.7
  • 2019 = 52.6
  • 2020 = 66.7
  • 2021 = 53.4
  • 2022 = 43.7
  • 2023 = 42.4

The veteran pass rusher isn’t much of a run defender but possesses a decent knack for pursuing quarterbacks — probably why Minnesota signed on his dotted line.

Domino Quietly
Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores chatting with Tatum Everett on February 15th, 2023. The Vikings hired Flores from the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he was a linebackers coach for one season.

The Vikings hired defensive coordinator Brian Flores about 14 months ago after one season of Ed Donatell’s leadership. Flores improved the defense in a heartbeat, transforming his unit to the NFL’s 11th-best in 2023 from 24th in 2022 per DVOA. The relationship worked, and now Flores is on tap for Year No. 2 in Minnesota. Free agents like Shaquill Griffin, Jonathan Greenard, Andrew Van Ginkel, Blake Cashman, and now Grugier-Hill + Ward will assuredly help.

All told, these are the Vikings new defensive additions this offseason:

  • A.J. Green, CB —1 Year, $1.05m (CLE)
  • Jonathan Greenard, EDGE — 4 Years, $76m (HOU)
  • Andrew Van Ginkel, EDGE — 2 Years, $20m (MIA)
  • Blake Cashman, ILB — 3 Years, $25.5m (HOU)
  • Jerry Tillery, DT — 1 Year, $3.75m (LAR)
  • Jonah Williams, DT — 1 Year (LAR)
  • Shaq Griffin, CB — 1 Year (CAR)
  • Kamu Grugier-Hill, ILB — 1 Year (CAR)
  • Jihad Ward, EDGE — 1 Year (NYG)

Ward will turn 30 in May.

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