Vikings Land $76 Million Star, Poised to Part Ways With Pro Bowler: Report

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Minnesota Vikings

Getty General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Minnesota Vikings looks on prior to the game against the Chicago Bears.

The Minnesota Vikings have a new top pass rusher in former Houston Texans star Jonathan Greenard, which could spell the end of Danielle Hunter ‘s days in Minnesots.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert reported on March 11 that the Vikings “have agreed to terms” Greenard.

“A new top pass rusher with Danielle Hunter (and maybe D.J. Wonnum) likely leaving,” Seifert said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

Adam Schefter reported the details of Greenard’s deal — a four-year, $76 million contract that includes $42 million — that likely phases Hunter, a four-time Pro Bowler, out of the Vikings’ plans.


Vikings Make Long-Term Investment By Choosing Greenard Over Hunter

Danielle Hunter, Vikings

GettyEdge rusher Danielle Hunter of the Minnesota Vikings.

Greenard, 26, is three years younger than Hunter and entering the fifth season of his career coming out of Florida as a 2020 third-round pick.

He thrived in a contract year under first-year coach Demeco Ryans, tallying a career-high 12.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, 22 quarterback hits and ranked sixth in ESPN’s pass-rush win rate.

Greenard was arguably the defensive MVP for the Texans’ turnaround 2023 season and is considered a player on the rise. The Vikings signed Greenard to a deal on par with Pro Football Focus’ free-agency projection.

“Greenard made the absolute most of his contract year under the tutelage of DeMeco Ryans and company, and he’s been productive as a pass rusher and run defender, with his 9.3% run-stop rate ranking eighth among qualifying edge defenders,” PFF’s free agency report reads.  “Greenard wins against the run because of a good first step, strong diagnosing skills and a solid ability to set the edge and avoid getting washed out at the point of attack. As a pass rusher, while he doesn’t have the deepest arsenal of moves, he is a good enough athlete to rack up clean-up and pursuit pressures if teammates chase quarterbacks his way, as he rarely gives up on a rep until the whistle blows.”

Investing in Greenard is a sign of a long-term investment in the Vikings roster, rather than an all-in approach for the next two seasons that would be likely to occur if the team signed Hunter in the twilight of his career.

Greenard’s projected $19 million average annual value of his contract ranks 14th among edge rushers ahead of free agency.

Vikings Make Familiar Gamble on Jonathan  Greenard

Jonathan Greenard

GettyTexans edge rusher Jonathan Greenard

One slight on signing Greenard was his ability to stay healthy throughout his rookie contract. He has dealt with injury every season, missing 19 games in his career, but is coming off a 15-game campaign last season.

It’s a familiar gamble that the Vikings made on Marcus Davenport last offseason.

Greenard hadn’t surpassed more than 413 snaps in a single season before his 632 snaps in 2023 — a testament that Greenard can stay healthy, which left a strong impression on the NFL ahead of free agency.

“He was coveted while on the market, even if durability (19 games missed in four seasons) is a slight question mark,” former NFL executive Randy Mueller wrote for The Athletic.

Coming out of college at 6-foot-3, 263 pounds, Greenard was undersized for his position coming out of college and has since bulked up.

A speed rusher with long arms and an endless motor, Greenard is an ideal outside linebacker for Brian Flores who could benefit from more versatility on the edge.

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