Minnesota Vikings Sign Jihad Ward and Kamu Grugier-Hill for More Defensive Depth

Jihad Ward
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

There will be no shortage of veteran defenders available for Brian Flores’ Minnesota Vikings defense in 2024. On Wednesday, the Vikings added two more, signing edge rusher Jihad Ward and linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, according to Darren Wolfson (SKOR North, KSTP).

Both players have been in the NFL for several seasons, and while the financial terms have yet to be disclosed, they’re likely fairly inexpensive contracts featuring little to no guarantees so these are veteran depth additions, something the Vikings didn’t have enough of last season.

Minnesota Vikings sign (EDGE) Jihad Ward

Ward, is a 6-foot-5, 285-pound EDGE rusher who is coming off a career-high five-sack season with the New York Giants. The 29-year-old is entering his ninth season in the NFL and received some poor grades from Pro Football Focus last season (42.4), ranking 185th among edge defenders. Yet, like other players the Vikings have signed this offseason, he adds experience and versatility, having played both outside linebacker positions, and spending time as a down lineman too.

Here’s Ward trash-talking former Vikings rival Aaron Rodgers on last season’s version of HBO’s Hard Knocks. If he can bring that same level of intensity to the Packers rivalry, the Vikings may have gotten a winner here.

Minnesota Vikings Sign (LB) Kamu Grugier-Hill

Kamu Grugier-Hill is a 6-foot-2, 220-pound middle linebacker who’s set to enter his eighth NFL season. The former Super Bowl champion with the Philadelphia Eagles is coming off playing all 17 games for the Carolina Panthers, but the Vikings will be the 29-year-old’s sixth NFL team.

KMG also received poor marks from PFF, with a woeful grade of 46.8, ranking 155th among middle linebackers. In addition to his duties on defense, Grugier-Hill also played 67% of the Panthers’ snaps on special teams, which could become his primary role in Minnesota too.

Grugier-Hill does have some level of familiarity with Coach Flores, having played for the Dolphins in 2020, his lone year in Miami. Again, he adds another veteran who should be able to make an easy transition with the Vikings, but that doesn’t assure he’ll see a heavy amount of playing time, or even crack the roster.

For now, he’s in the mix, along with Blake Cashman, Ivan Pace Jr., Brian Asamoah, and Abraham Beauplan. Here’s Grugier-Hill intercepting Kirk Cousins last season.

Related: L’Jarius Sneed Would Reportedly ‘Love to Play’ for Minnesota Vikings

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