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NFL free agency: Former Giant Jihad Ward signs with Minnesota Vikings

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By: Ed Valentine

Jihad Ward (55) | Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Edge defender didn’t have a place in New York with arrival of Brian Burns, exit of Wink Martindale

Jihad Ward, a member of the New York Giants for the past two seasons and a favorite of former Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, has signed with the Minnesota Vikings.

Ward, an eight-year veteran, had two productive seasons with the Giants. He had three sacks in 2022, tying his career high, then established a new career high with 5.0 sacks in 2023.

It figured, though, that the 30-year-old 2016 second-round pick by the Raiders would move on once the Giants and Martindale parted ways.

“Wherever I’m at I hope I have Jihad Ward with me,” Martindale once said of the veteran edge defender.

Ward was a strong locker room presence for the Giants and played 1,318 total defensive snaps the past two seasons. Martindale’s exit, and the acquisition of Brian Burns from the Carolina Panthers, though, made it apparent that the Giants and Ward would be parting ways.

The Giants now have Burns and Kayvon Thibodeaux starting on the edge, with 2021 second-round pick Azeez Ojulari as a rotational piece. They could look to add even more edge help in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft.

Originally posted on Big Blue View