One Vikings Position Group Has Been Completely Revamped by Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

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When the trio of Marcus Davenport, Danielle Hunter, and D.J. Wonnum left in free agency, many wondered how the Minnesota Vikings would fare in rebuilding their group of pass rushers.

Heading into free agency, the Minnesota Vikings employed just two players at the outside linebacker position: Patrick Jones and 2023 undrafted free agent Andre Carter. Since that time, though, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has done a masterful job of reshaping the position for both 2024 and the future.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Has Reshaped One Vikings Position Group

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First, the Vikings GM brought in a pair of veteran players who should be capable of not only starting, but thriving in Brian Flores’ defense. The first signing was Jonathan Greenard, who was coming off a career-defining season with the Houston Texans in 2023.

The pass rusher put together 52 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and 12.5 sacks across 15 games for the Texans, and he added another TFL during Houston’s playoff run. While he might not be a one-to-one replacement for Hunter, Greenard is a younger and cheaper option for the Vikings over the next four years and is capable of plenty of production.

Meanwhile, Andrew Van Ginkel was another early signing during the free agency period who can be a Swiss army knife for Flores. He put together a career-high six sacks in 2023 after Jaelan Phillips went down with an injury. However, Van Ginkel has also proven to be a helpful piece in run defense while having the chops to hold up in coverage as well.

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Almost immediately, the Vikings had two solid starters back in their lineup, but they didn’t stop there. Jihad Ward also joined the team after posting five sacks with the New York Giants in 2023. Ward certainly isn’t a player who should be a featured pass rusher in a defense, but he adds valuable depth to the group alongside the youngsters, Carter and Jones.

The stunner of the spring came during the draft, though. Because the Vikings only needed to move up one singular spot to land their quarterback of the future, Minnesota didn’t need to give up their additional first-round selection.

As a result, Minnesota was able to land Dallas Turner with the 17th overall pick. Some may call the Vikings’ trade up from No. 23 to 17 a bit of an overpay, but Turner is a young player with plenty of upside because of his elite athleticism and length off the edge.

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Turner’s pass rush win percentage of 19.6% ranked eighth among all FBS edge rushers in the 2024 NFL Draft who amassed at least 200 snaps last season, per PFF. He put up these numbers while playing at Alabama and going through a tough SEC schedule.

On top of that, one of Minnesota’s UDFA signings involved Gabriel Murphy out of UCLA, who put together a similarly impressive percentage of 18.4% in that category, placing 12th in the FBS.

Overall, Minnesota may still feel the loss of some of their free agent departures, particularly Hunter, but Adofo-Mensah has done a masterful job of rebuilding the Vikings’ outside linebacker group. They should be very fun to watch when training camp and the 2024 season roll around.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Focus and Sports Reference CFB.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.