Vikings Explode onto Free Agent Scene

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings attacked all angles of the depth chart in the first 24 hours of free agency, leaving almost no area lonesome.

Vikings Explode onto Free Agent Scene

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah added six new players in 24 hours, an unusual spike for a team that typically adds about two on the first day of free agency.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Here’s the list of newcomers as of 11:30 am CST on Tuesday:

  • Jonathan Greenard, EDGE — 4 Years, $76m (HOU)
  • Andrew Van Ginkel, EDGE — 2 Years, $20m (MIA)
  • Blake Cashman, ILB — 3 Years, $25.5m (HOU)
  • Sam Darnold, QB — 1 Year, $10m (SF)
  • Parker Romo, K — XFL
  • Aaron Jones, RB — 1 Year, $7m (GB)
Houston Texans defensive end Jonathan Greenard (52) celebrates a touchdown on a recovered fumble Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, during a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Most, if not all, acquisitions were generally surprising, though many Vikings fans envisioned a free-agent relationship between Van Ginkel and the purple team. The former Miami Dolphin is from Rock Valley, Iowa, and had ties to defensive coordinator Brian Flores from 2019 to 2021.

Greenard headlined the bunch, presumably on deck to replace Danielle Hunter, who remains unsigned by any team at the time of this article’s publication. Hunter could still re-sign with the Vikings, but the deal probably would’ve happened by now. Greenard logged 12.5 sacks in 2023 and is one of the NFL’s top quarterback-pressure merchants.

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

His running mate, Van Ginkel, will lurk on the other side of the Vikings’ 2024 defensive line, added to the purple team’s roster after a wildly successful 2023 breakout campaign. His Pro Football Focus grade climbed over 90 in 2023, a mind-bogglingly good score.

Cashman is an Eden Prairie native, so the hometown angle is in play. He played at the University of Minnesota and will now become a Viking on Sundays. He, like Van Ginkel, busted into stardom in 2023 and fetched the handsome deal from Minnesota accordingly. He’ll start next to 2023 rookie sensation Ivan Pace Jr. in the middle of the Vikings’ 2024 defense.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Less enthusiasm surrounded Darnold, mainly because uninformed fans assumed he was the “solution” for life after Kirk Cousins. Cousins chased the largest contract available on the open market Monday, departing the Vikings after six seasons and grabbing 180 million bucks from the Atlanta Falcons. Darnold should be viewed as a “patchover quarterback” to a rookie likely named later.

Romo is a big-legged XFL kicker, signed by the Vikings this week to potentially replace Greg Joseph. Minnesota has yet to re-sign Joseph, perhaps capping his three seasons in the North Star State. In practice, Romo can hit field goals from 70+ yards.

Finally, Minnesota’s quest to, alas, fix its ground game will feature Aaron Jones, a Green Bay Packers turncoat who found a sweet contract from Adofo-Mensah. Jones will turn 30 in December, but for one season, the Vikings evidently believe he still has prime performance left in the tank.

Minnesota may not be done adding free-agent newcomers: look for a defensive tackle and cornerback to round out the class.

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