PFF Analyst Praises Vikings for a Free Agency Move

Dec 24, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans defensive end Jonathan Greenard (52) walks off the field before the game against the Cleveland Browns at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has been hard at work during this Vikings free agency period, adding talent to the roster.

Not only has the general manager gone about adding depth to the team in order to replenish the backends of Minnesota’s roster, but he has added truly capable starters to the mix as well, ensuring that the Vikings can remain competitive immediately. One of PFF’s premier analysts, Brad Spielberger was impressed by the early portions of Vikings free agency, particularly one move to bring in a new starting pass rusher.

PFF Analyst Praises Vikings Free Agency Move

Vikings Free Agency
Dec 24, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans defensive end Jonathan Greenard (52) walks off the field before the game against the Cleveland Browns at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Spielberger recently wrote a piece detailing the best moves of free agency for all 32 NFL teams, and for the Vikings, he chose the signing of Jonathan Greenard. Here is his reasoning for the choice:

Minnesota lost both Danielle Hunter and D.J. Wonnum on the edge, so getting younger with the talented Jonathan Greenard makes a lot of sense. Defensive coordinator Brian Flores will surely love Greenard’s ability against the run, in addition to a still-developing arsenal of pass-rush moves, with his super long arms keeping him clean against tackles as he turns the corner.

Defensive coordinator Brian Flores has loved having varying types of versatility in his defensive scheme, and Greenard fits right into that mold. Not only did he put together 12.5 sacks last season in 15 games, but he has been a very capable three-down player to contribute in run defense.

The placement of Greenard opposite of Andrew Van Ginkel, who reunites with Flores in Minnesota, gives the Vikings a number of different looks that they can utilize at the position.

NFL: Houston Texans at New York Jets
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

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.

Unfortunately, Spielberger also had to toss in his least favorite move of Minnesota’s free agency period. He deemed that signing QB Sam Darnold was the worst move for the Vikings over the past couple weeks, who signed with Minnesota on a one-year deal worth $10 million (including $8.75 million guaranteed) in the aftermath of Kirk Cousins leaving for Atlanta. Here was his reasoning for labeling Darnold as the worst signing:

Darnold reunites with former teammate Josh McCown, who is now the quarterbacks coach for the Minnesota Vikings under Kevin O’Connell. Minnesota obviously needs a bridge quarterback, or this could be the 2024 version of the Baker Mayfield experience in Tampa Bay, but with so many options available, they just had to give Darnold a greater than 100% raise over 2023. It feels like there’s baked-in compensation so Minnesota can say, “Hey, we don’t need to trade up. We have a starter we believe in!

That said, there were legitimate flashes at the end of the 2022 season in Carolina for Darnold, and we know teams still believe in the former No. 3 overall pick. At the end of the day, with Kirk Cousins off to Atlanta, Minnesota had to make a fairly sizable move with their first-round draft pick sitting at No. 11 overall, and player agents were well aware of that reality. We now wait to see if they add a rookie signal-caller at No. 11 or after a trade-up.

Jan 7, 2024; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) celebrates after a play during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

It certainly would be less than ideal for the Vikings to be forced to ride with Darnold as their QB1 throughout this season, but at the end of the day, he can be viewed as a decent insurance plan. Minnesota is expected to try and draft a quarterback this spring. If they do that, the Vikings don’t need to rush their rookie into the starting lineup before he’s ready, allowing him to develop and grow more comfortable in the offense.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via 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.