The Vikings sign two additional free-agent linebackers, Jihad Ward and Kamu Grugier-Hill.

Following the initial phase of free agency, where they acquired linebackers Jonathan Greenard, Andrew Van Ginkel, and Blake Cashman, the Vikings continued to revamp their defensive core on Wednesday.

During his free agent visit to Minnesota, former Giants linebacker Jihad Ward was signed by the team, while they also reached an agreement with former Panthers linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, as per a source familiar with both transactions. Both players, set to turn 30 in May, provide the Vikings with additional experienced depth behind the linebackers acquired at the beginning of free agency.

Since the opening of the market last week, the Vikings have either signed or agreed to terms with seven defenders from other teams, including defensive linemen Jonah Williams and Jerry Tillery, as well as cornerback Shaq Griffin, in addition to the five linebackers they’ve brought in. Defensive coordinator Brian Flores was expected to lead an active search for defensive reinforcements after the 2023 season, which saw the defense weakened by injuries and exposed for its youth in four consecutive losses following a 3-0 victory over the Raiders.

Ward, who started nine games for the Giants last season, adds another edge defender to the Vikings’ roster alongside Greenard and Van Ginkel, as Minnesota seeks to fill the void left by Danielle Hunter, D.J. Wonnum, and Marcus Davenport. Ward recorded a career-high five sacks in 2023, with three coming in his last three games.

Grugier-Hill reunites with former Texans teammates Greenard and Cashman, both of whom played with him in Houston in 2022. During his tenure with the Panthers last season, Grugier-Hill started five games and registered an interception. He is expected to join the Vikings’ group of inside linebackers and play a significant role on special teams following the departure of Troy Dye in free agency.

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