Vikings Latest Free Agent Addition Will Be Adored

Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel suffered a broken nose Sunday against the Jets but by Monday, he'd been patched up.© HAL HABIB / The Palm Beach Post / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Minnesota Vikings prioritized defense on the first day of free agency — as the franchise watched quarterback Kirk Cousins walk to the Atlanta Falcons.

Vikings Free Agent Signings: Fans Will Love the Latest Newcomer

A new era indeed, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah signed EDGE rusher Jonathan Greenard of the Houston Texans and Eden Prairie native linebacker Blake Cashman from the Houston Texans.

Vikings Free Agent Signings
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

But that wasn’t all.

With longtime defender Danielle Hunter presumably headed elsewhere, the Vikings signed pass rusher Andrew Van Ginkel, too, on Monday. ESPN Adam Schefter tweeted, “Former Dolphins LB Andrew Van Ginkel agreed to terms on a 2-year deal with the Vikings for $20 million, including $14 million guaranteed. The deal was confirmed by agents Drew Rosenhaus and Ryan Matha.”

Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (43) and linebacker David Long Jr., rear, celebrate a sack against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Dec. 24, 2023. © Jim Rassol / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Like the aforementioned Greenard’s average annual salary — $19 million annually — Van Ginkel’s pricetag is tremendous for team-building, a steal of a deal at $10 million per year. And the Vikings may not be finished yet adding defensive personnel, perhaps on tap to sign a defensive tackle or cornerback. Stay tuned.

Van Ginkel experienced ample playing time in 2023 when nearly every EDGE rusher for the Dolphins was lost to injury. He had 6 sacks and 20 pressures, according to Stathead, along with a blistering 91.1 Pro Football Focus grade.

Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (43) and defensive tackle Zach Sieler (92) celebrate a sack against the New York Giants during the second half of an NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, October 8, 2023. © Jim Rassol / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Iowan was a Flores draft pick for the Dolphins in 2019. Those ties between players and coaches always seem to reemerge. In fact, Minnesota could explore more former Dolphins from free agency, like cornerback Xavien Howard, for example.

Minnesota needed EDGE rushers heading into the 2024 offseason — like, several — and this group is now the EDGE foursome on the books as of 4:30 pm CST on Monday, March 11th:

  • Jonathan Greenard
  • Andrew Van Ginkel
  • Patrick Jones II
  • Andre Carter II

Minnesota’s defense ranked 24th per DVOA in 2022 under Ed Donatell and improved mightily in 2023 under Brian Flores — to the tune of 11th-best in the NFL. With Greenard and Van Ginkel now on the depth chart and help on the way, Flores could enter the Vikings’ defense into the Top 10. That’s the working theory, anyway.

Just Give Brian Flores
Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Flores was hired in February 2023 to take over for Ed Donatel after Minnesota finished 30th in points allowed.

Van Ginkel played 66% of defensive snaps for Miami in 2023, a worthwhile amount and tip of the cap that he’ll start in September for Minnesota.

The Vikings also need more EDGE rushers, though the next batch may be depth pieces. Marcus Davenport could return on a smallish deal. So could DJ. Wonnum.

Van Ginkel will turn 29 this summer.

Cousins Walks.
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Cousins Walks.

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