Vikings Splash in Free Agency with New EDGE Rusher

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings wasted no time bolstering their 2024 defense — no time at all.

Vikings Free Agency: It’s a Brand New EDGE Rusher

The club will reportedly sign EDGE defender Jonathan Greenard, formerly of the Houston Texans. NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport tweeted Monday, about 45 minutes after the start of legal tampering, “The Vikings are signing Texans star edge Jonathan Greenard, per me and Tom Pelissero.”

Vikings Free Agency
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And ESPN’s Adam Schefter provided the contractual details, “Former Texans pass-rusher Jonathan Greenard is signing a four-year $76 million deal that includes $42 million guaranteed with the Vikings, per his agents Drew Rosenhaus and Robert Bailey.”

NFL Network also indicated that the Greenard addition signals the end of Danielle Hunter’s tenure with the Vikings, though the theory is speculative.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota needed EDGE rushers heading into the 2024 offseason — like, several — and this group is now the EDGE trio on the books as of noon on Monday, March 11th:

  • Jonathan Greenard
  • Patrick Jones II
  • Andre Carter II
Flores Flourish
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If Hunter does not return, the Vikings obviously need more pass rushers, whether from free agency or the draft. Should general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah spend high-round draft capital on Greenard’s running mate, assuming Hunter leaves, these men will be available in the draft:

  • Laiatu Latu (UCLA)
  • Dallas Turner (Alabama)
  • Jared Verse (Florid State)
  • Chop Robinson (Penn State)
  • Chris Braswell (Alabama)

Greenard played 62% of all Texans’ defensive snaps in 2023, logging an impressive 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 from Minnesota’s brass. Until the EDGE plan takes clearer shape this week or in April, Vikings fans will put a lot of hope in Greenard as the team’s keynote defensive solution.

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 now on the depth chart and help on the way, Flores could nudge the Vikings’ defense into the Top 10. That’s the working theory, anyway.

Cap Increase
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The only knock on Greenard is injury. He hasn’t played a full season as a pro, so Vikings loyalists will hope that changes in 2024. His acquisition is also noteworthy because he stops the run, too. Some pass rushers are one-trick ponies with pass-rush-only. But not Greenard.

He’ll turn 27 in May.

More Vikings’ free agent moves are expected throughout the week.

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