Vikings Add Another Starting Pass Rusher

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The Minnesota Vikings have entered free agency in the third offseason under the reign of general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. Kirk Cousins moves on to Atlanta and finding his successor is the top task on Adofo-Mensah’s to-do list. However, fixing the holes in Brian Flores’ defense and providing him with the necessary talent to coordinate a solid defense is also important.

Vikings Add Another Starting Pass Rusher

Vikings Add Another Starting Pass Rusher
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.

And the GM wasn’t wasting any time and addressed the vacant pass rush spots early on Monday. His first signing was former Texans defender Jonathan Greenard and he added ex-Dolphins rusher Andrew Van Ginkel, Adam Schefter reported: “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.”

The outside linebacker room was a disaster before those acquisitions as only Andre Carter, a 2023 undrafted rookie, and Patrick Jones, a three-year backup, were under contract.

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Once Wednesday arrives, the purple team can make the two additions official. Van Ginkel is fascinating as he was a hot name in the Vikings’ universe leading up to free agency. The Dolphins drafted him in the fifth round of the 2019 draft and guess who their head coach was…Vikings defensive coordinator Flores.

The 28-year-old edge defender played five seasons in Miami, appearing in 73 games and starting 42 contests. He tabulated 17 sacks, with 6 of those coming in 2023, arguably his best season. In addition to that, Van Ginkel racked up 250 tackles, 31 tackles for loss, and a pair of interceptions.

His Pro Football Focus resume is fabulous:

  • 2019: 58.2
  • 2020: 79.3 (12th/110)
  • 2021: 61.8 (71st/110)
  • 2022: 72.8 (34th/119)
  • 2023: 91.1 (7th/112)
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Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports.

Van Ginkel was placed 60th in their free agency rankings and comes with some praise:

Van Ginkel has been a productive player in a rotational capacity and closed out the 2023 season with strong efforts in a bigger role following the Jaelan Phillips loss. Van Ginkel makes up for a slender frame and shorter arms with good burst off the line and plus movement ability in space, but he can get swallowed up by blockers. When he does get a free release upfield, he’ll make the play more often than not in the backfield.

Dolphins defensive coordinator Vic Fangio asks his outside linebackers to drop in coverage rather frequently, and Van Ginkel was up to the task in 2023, including recording three batted passes and a pick-six against the Washington Commanders after reading a screen perfectly and taking it to the house unassisted.

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The scheme changes back to a Flores system rather than a Fangio defense but he is familiar with it and he has grown as a player since he was last coached by Flores. Regardless, he is a perfect fit for what Flores wants to do on that side of the ball.

Analysts have acknowledged the signings.

The two new outside linebackers are both well-versed in both running and passing games. Flores is slowly acquiring his guys. They might not be quite the force Hunter is but there is a good chance they will be a better duo than the Vikings had last season.

Fans should also get excited after reading from a Dolphins media person:

More players will join the new duo in the upcoming days.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt