Vikings Sign Former Saints EDGE Marcus Davenport to 1-Year Deal

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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The Minnesota Vikings continued working into the evening of the first day of the legal tampering period. After signing tight end Josh Oliver in the early hours of the afternoon, Minnesota had now turned to the defense by signing former New Orleans Saint EDGE Marcus Davenport to join their defensive front.

Davenport, a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, entered free agency this offseason for the first time after spending his first five seasons with the Saints. In those five years, he played in 63 games, starting 32 of them, and recorded 142 tackles, 25 TFLs, 60 QB hits, 21.5 sacks, 4 passes defensed, 7 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.

Sep 25, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (92) rush off the field against the Carolina Panthers during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

As reported by Ian Rapoport, Davenport’s contract with the Minnesota Vikings is a one-year deal worth a total of $13 million.

This signing by the Vikings is an interesting one for a couple reasons. Davenport certainly has some upside to him as evidenced by massive single game performances over the course of his career. The potential problems lie in a combination of injuries and some inconsistencies over the course of his first five NFL seasons.

In 2022, he recorded just half a sack over 15 games, but part of this is due to the fact that he was playing alongside Cam Jordan and David Onyemata. He is plenty capable of winning reps against offensive linemen due to a freakish combination of length, power, and speed.

Jan 2, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (92) in the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Therefore, considering he is still a 26-year-old pass rusher, the Vikings certainly could have done worse in a free agency signing. Time will tell if this turns out to be a bargain for Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and the Vikings.

This signing could also have some implications regarding the future of Za’Darius Smith. The veteran recently requested to be released from the team, but there have been no updates since that initial report. It is very interesting, though, that the Vikings signed Davenport for $13 million, and they can save $12.1 million if they release Smith.

In the end, this move continues the trend of Minnesota getting younger at skill positions, and if the Vikings do move on from Smith, it opens up even more cap space in 2024. These two things have been a common theme through all the Vikings moves throughout the early offseason.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.