The Vikings’ Top 3 Moves from a Busy Week

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The first week of free agency was wild for the Minnesota Vikings, constructing a roster to prepare for a momentous 2024 season.

The Vikings’ Top 3 Moves from a Busy Week

The club added new free agents, re-signed in-house players, and even produced a blockbuster trade.

the Radar
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Free agency will still involve important acquisitions next week, but as for the first wave, these were the Vikings’ top moves of the week, ranked in ascending order.

3. Adding 2 EDGE Rushers

Green Bay Packers tackled Dennis Kelly (79) provides pass protection from Houston Texans defensive end Jonathan Greenard (52) during their preseason game Saturday, August 14, 2021 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Houston Texans beat the Green Bay Packers 26-7. Packers15 22. © Milwaukee Journal SentinelMARK HOFFMAN/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL / USA TODAY NETWORK.

For life after Danielle Hunter, who joined the Houston Texans this week, Minnesota signed Jonathan Greenard from those same Texans and Andrew Van Ginkel of the Miami Dolphins.

Greenard played 62% of all Texans’ defensive snaps in 2023, notching 12.5 sacks and 22 QB hits. He’s three years younger than Hunter and, at $19 million per season, offers incredible value. Here’s Greenard’s Pro Football Focus resume to date:

  • 2023: 78.2
  • 2022: 63.4
  • 2021: 82.9
  • 2020: 51.9

A 3rd-Rounder from the 2020 NFL Draft, Greenard’s second contract arrives courtesy of the Vikings. The deal was four years and $76 million.

On Van Ginkel, he encountered considerable 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 diabolically good 91.1 Pro Football Focus grade.

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

Both signings should reduce Vikings fans’ apprehension about the outside linebacker spot.

2. Letting Kirk Cousins Walk

Vikings QB Situation
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Kirk Cousins joined the Atlanta Falcons on the first day of free agency, capturing a behemoth four-year contract and $180 million. Cousins told reporters in January, “At this stage in my career, the dollars are really not what it’s about.” But in the end, he chased the money and Atlanta’s spiffy contractual structure despite the humble-pie comments two months ago.

And for the Vikings, it was time.

Indeed, Cousins could’ve led the charge in Minnesota into 2024 and beyond, but at Cousins’ asking price, plus the commitment for more than two years that he coveted, the purple team couldn’t take the risk. Countless passers have slowed down at age 36, including a recent Falcons example in Matt Ryan.

Couple that age and injury-related fear with Minnesota winning just one playoff game during Cousins’ reign, the time screamed for change. The Vikings wrapped their arms around change this week; sometimes, that’s the wisest option.

1. The Trade with the Texans

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The tweet that changed everything about the Vikings’ offseason, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport broke the news Friday morning: “A Draft Trade!! The Vikings and Texans have agreed to terms on a major deal in advance of the draft, per me and Tom Pelissero, landing Minnesota another 1. Minnesota gets No. 23 and No. 232. Houston gets No. 42, 188 and a 2025 2nd rounder. MIN moves up, HOU collects.”

Vikings Receive:
No. 23
No. 232

Texans Receive:
No. 42
No. 188
2025 2nd-Round pick

Minnesota now has more 2024 1st-Round ammunition than any NFL team to move up the board for a quarterback like Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy. The move is precisely the type a general manager makes as a precursor to a second trade.

Barring an odd ulterior strategy, it’s happening — the Vikings will finagle another splashy trade to move further up the board and select their quarterback of the future to lead the charge in the post-Cousins era. Probably Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy.

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