Vikings To Sign OLB Jonathan Greenard

The Vikings had attempted to re-sign Danielle Hunter, but the nine-year Minnesota pass rusher appeared intent on exploring the market. It looks like the Vikings sack ace will be headed elsewhere, as the team is making a big investment at the position.

Jonathan Greenard has a deal in place with the Vikings,’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport report. The four-year Texans contributor is coming off his best season — a 12.5-sack campaign — and played a key role in Houston making a surprise run to the divisional round. He will cash in as a result.

Minnesota will give Greenard a four-year, $76MM deal that includes $42MM guaranteed, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets. The Texans were interested in keeping Greenard, but the team seemed a bit leery about where his market would end up. While it did not quite take a $20MM-AAV deal to land Greenard, the Texans will stand down.

PFR’s free agency rankings slotted Greenard one spot higher than Hunter, despite the latter being a more proven pass rusher. Greenard, however, is three years younger than Hunter. The former third-round pick is set to begin his age-27 season in Minnesota. Hunter will turn 30 later this year.

Greenard is coming off a strong contract year, but he had shown flashes — albeit for off-grid Texans teams in the wake of the Deshaun Watson mess — prior to that 2023 breakthrough. Greenard totaled eight sacks in 2021 but ran into injury trouble in 2022. Shifted to defensive end in DeMeco Ryans‘ system, Greenard led the Texans in sacks last season by a wide margin.

While Will Anderson won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, Greenard served as the team’s top sack artist in 2023. Ranking 20th with 33 quarterback pressures, Greenard smashed his career-high with 22 QB hits. He ranked sixth among edge rushers in ESPN’s pass rush win rate metric in 2023. A similar effort will be expected in Minneapolis.

With the Vikings in transition on the edge, they will look to him — in all likelihood — as their No. 1 option next season. The Vikings came into the tampering period with Hunter, Marcus Davenport and D.J. Wonnum unsigned. They exited last season with Davenport and Wonnum on the shelf as well. Brian Flores will soon get to work attempting to mold Greenard into a Pro Bowl-level edge presence.

The youngest player in NFL history to reach 50 sacks, Hunter was a pivotal Vikings defender for much of the Mike Zimmer era and beyond. He used the past two seasons to bounce back, and while the Vikings held onto the former third-rounder at last year’s trade deadline, the sides’ August contract reworking prevented them from using the franchise tag. As it stands, Hunter appears set to depart the Twin Cities after one of the best runs by a pass rusher in the team’s modern history.

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