Vikings Make Their First Move of Free Agency by Bringing in a High Upside Pass Rusher

The Minnesota Vikings entered the offseason with some major questions in terms of their pass rush.

They began answering those questions on Monday by making their first move of the free agency period, opting to sign pass rusher Jonathan Greenard, who spent his first four NFL seasons with the Houston Texans.

Vikings’ First Move of Free Agency

Jonathan Greenard
Dec 10, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets running back Dalvin Cook (33) is tackled by Houston Texans defensive end Jonathan Greenard (52) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The news was reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN, who tweeted, “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.”

Greenard, a third-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, spent two of his first three NFL seasons largely playing as a rotational pass rusher in Houston’s defense. He combined to start only five games in the 2020 and 2022 seasons.

However, the pass rusher has shown great promise when he has been able to get onto the field. Greenard totaled eight sacks across 12 games in 2021, and this past season, he ranked 10th in the entire NFL in that category, putting together 12.5 sacks in 15 starts.

Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; A Minnesota Vikings helmet sits idle on the field before the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Greenard generated a career-high 15.6% pressure rate during 2023, and he ranked fifth in the entire NFL from Weeks 8-16 in that category with a whopping 19.3%.

At 6’3″ and 263 pounds, Greenard had terrific size and athleticism to help in the pass rush, and he may have his best football in front of him. He with only turn 27 years old in June, and there should be plenty of tread on the tires considering he has played less than 300 defensive snaps in two of his first four seasons. This past year was by far his career-high in that department with 682.

This move also appears like it could be a replacement for Danielle Hunter as Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweeted shortly after the news broke, “So Jonathan Greenard heads to Minnesota as Danielle Hunter gets set to cash in elsewhere …”

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) warms up before the game against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless, it appears that the Vikings have their edge rusher in place in case Hunter decides to head elsewhere this offseason.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Focus and Pro Football Reference.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.