Vikings Make It 14 Newcomers with Latest Free Agent Move

Baltimore Ravens defensive end Jihad Ward (53) reacts after sacking Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) during the Tennessee Titans game against the Baltimore Ravens in Nashville on January 10, 2021. © Andrew Nelles / via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

The Minnesota Vikings inked two new linebackers on Wednesday, one inside (Kamu Grugier-Hill) and the other on the outside, a pass rusher named Jihad Ward.

Vikings Make It 14 Newcomers with Latest Free Agent Move

Those additions brought the total to 14 newcomers altogether, a free-agent class headlined by defensive priority, with a side dish of Sam Darnold as a patchover quarterback to an eventual rookie and potential RB1 Aaron Jones.

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Here’s the full list of Vikings new players via free agency:

  • A.J. Green, CB —1 Year, $1.05m (CLE)
  • 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)
  • Jerry Tillery, DT — 1 Year, $3.75m (LAR)
  • Trent Sherfield, WR — 1 Year $1.79m (BUF)
  • Dan Feeney, OL — 1 Year (CHI)
  • Jonah Williams, DT — 1 Year (LAR)
  • Shaq Griffin, CB — 1 Year (CAR)
  • Kamu Grugier-Hill, ILB — 1 Year (CAR)
  • Jihad Ward, EDGE — 1 Year (NYG)

This offseason has been significantly busier than last for Minnesota. Through free agency of March 20th, 2023, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah had added four new players. And this year increased by 350% to 14. Change, indeed.

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The group is headlined by defense — an expected outcome and also welcomed — with the keynote additions of Greenard, Van Ginkel, and Cashman on free agency’s first day. Minnesota said goodbye to Danielle Hunter, D.J. Wonnum, and Jordan Hicks, and hello to Greenard, Van Ginkel, and Cashman. Most fans celebrated the transactions, though lamenting the loss of Hunter, who played for Minnesota since 2015.

On offense, the moves are a steady march to the grand climax of the 2024 NFL Draft. Adofo-Mensah conducted a splashy trade last week, sending two 2nd-Round picks to Houston for the Texans’ 2024 1st-Rounder (Pick No. 23) and a late-round pick swap. Many believe he’ll turn that trade into another one, probably for a draft pick in the Top 5 to nab North Carolina’s Drake Maye or Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. In the meantime, Darnold is listed as QB1, and the purple team found a new starting running back in Aaron Jones, a Green Bay Packers defection.

Detroit Lions placekicker John Parker Romo (24) watches practice during OTAs at Detroit Lions headquarters in Allen Park on Thursday, June 1, 2023. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

For special teams, Parker Romo is in line to take over kicking duties from Greg Joseph, but fans shouldn’t be surprised at all if the Vikings draft another kicker in April or sign one from undrafted free agency. The overall lesson is that Joseph is unlikely to return.

On the above list’s bottom half, most other moves are depth additions to hedge the bet against injuries in 2024.

For context, these men have departed the Vikings this offseason:

  • Alexander Mattison, RB — Signed with 3/18
  • Kirk Cousins, QB — Signed with Falcons 3/11
  • Marcus Davenport, EDGE — Signed with Lions 3/11
  • Jordan Hicks, LB — Signed with Browns 3/11
  • Dean Lowry, DT — Released 3/12
  • William Kwenkeu, ILB — Released 3/12
  • Hakeem Adeniji, OT — Signed with Browns 3/12
  • Danielle Hunter, EDGE — Signed with Texans 3/12
  • D.J. Wonnum, EDGE — Signed with Panthers 3/14
  • Khyiris Tonga, DT — Signed with Cardinals 3/15
  • Troy Dye, LB — Signed with Chargers 3/15
  • Austin Schlottmann, C — Signed with Giants 3/15
  • K.J. Osborn, WR — Signed with Patriots 3/17
  • Oli Udoh, OT — Signed with Saints 3/18
  • Joshua Dobbs, QB — Signed with 49ers 3/18
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And these seven were extended:

  • Theo Jackson, S — Extended 2/21.
  • Nick Muse, TE — Extended 3/5
  • Johnny Mundt, TE — Extended 3/8
  • David Quessenberry, OT — Extended 3/11
  • Blake Brandel, OL — Extended 3/11
  • Brandon Powell, WR — Extended 3/12
  • Jonathan Bullard, DT — Extended 3/13

The NFL draft, where Minnesota is expected to choose a quarterback of the future, is five weeks away.

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).

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