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Vikings agree to terms with Jonathan Greenard, Blake Cashman and Andrew Van Ginkel

By Craig Peters

In the opening moments of 2024 free agency, the Vikings announced they've agreed to terms with outside linebackers Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel, as well as linebacker Blake Cashman.

The additions at the start of the new league year involve bringing Greenard and Cashman to the Vikings after both helped the Texans to a 10-7 record and AFC South title in DeMeco Ryans' first season, which followed a 3-13-1 showing by the Texans in 2022.

The trio figures to be featured by Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores, who helped Minnesota's defense improve in multiple metrics in 2023, his first season in that role.

Cashman, a multi-year state champ at nearby Eden Prairie, and Van Ginkel, an Iowa native, are returning much closer to home. Greenard, a Georgia native who played at Louisville before transferring to Florida, will experience a new region.

Greenard is joining the Vikings after setting multiple career bests with the Texans in 2023, the final year of the 2020 third-round pick's rookie deal. He set new single-season highs for tackles (52), tackles for loss (15), QB hits (22) and sacks (12.5) in starting all 15 games he played.

According to Next Gen Stats, Greenard ranked fifth in the NFL with an average time to pressure opposing quarterbacks of 2.56 seconds. NGS also calculated a sack percentage of 3.3 that ranked fourth among players with at least 300 pass-rush reps in 2023 and a stop percentage of 7.6 against run plays, which ranked third.'s Gregg Rosenthal ranked Greenard No. 15 overall in his "Top 101" list of 2024 free agents. Rosenthal pointed out Greenard "often wins quickly" and pointed toward ESPN Analytics' creation of a "pass rush win rate metric." Using player tracker data, the metric indicates "how often a pass-rusher is able to beat his block within 2.5 seconds."

ESPN Analytics credited Greenard with 54 wins on 241 plays for a pass rush win rate of 22.4 percent that ranked sixth among edge defenders behind Micah Parsons (84 on 238), Myles Garrett (82 on 269), Will Anderson, Jr. (57 on 221), T.J. Watt (75 on 296) and Jadeveon Clowney (66 on 267).

Van Ginkel also cracked the top 20 in pass rush win rate, being credited with 32 wins on 178 plays (17.9 percent).

If anyone knows Van Ginkel's strengths, it's likely Flores, who was in his first of three seasons as Dolphins head coach when Miami used its third pick of 2019 to tab Van Ginkel, who played college football at South Dakota (2015 as a redshirt freshman), Iowa Western Community College (2016) and Wisconsin (2017-18).

Rosenthal ranked Van Ginkel at 39th in his top 100 and quipped, "If Bill Belichick was still in New England, the easy joke would be to say Van Ginkel lands with the Patriots. But that'd be selling Van Ginkel short, because his versatile skill set should be sought after by a number of teams looking for a jack of all trades."

Belichick has departed New England, but not before impacting Flores, a former member of the Patriots personnel department and assistant coach.

Van Ginkel has started 42 of 73 regular-season games, logging 2,538 defensive snaps and 1,141 more on special teams. He has recorded 219 tackles on defense (31 more on special teams), 31 tackles for loss, 57 QB hits, two interceptions, 21 passes defended, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 17 sacks.

He returned a fumble recovery 78 yards for a touchdown in 2020 and an interception for a 33-yard score in 2023.

Cashman has spent the past two seasons with the Texans after beginning his career with the Jets as a fifth-round pick. The former Minnesota Golden Gopher overlapped with new Vikings QB Sam Darnold in New York from 2019-20 before heading to Houston.

Cashman made 13 of his 21 career starts last season and has appeared in 44 regular-season games total. He logged a career-best 657 snaps on defense (more than half of the 1,269 for his career) in Ryans' first season, recording 106 tackles, nine tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, five passes defended, two sacks and a fumble recovery.

Rosenthal updated his list of 101 after multiple players were removed from the market by the franchise tag and reports of other departures starting surfacing. As of Tuesday, Cashman checked in at 89.

Rosenthal wrote: "DeMeco Ryans trusted Cashman to run his defense and the veteran established himself as a worthy starter."