Vikings Pass Rusher Leaves for Detroit

Hours after Kirk Cousins departed from the Vikings for the Atlanta Falcons, a second Vikings free agent has left the team.

This time, it is OLB Marcus Davenport, who is set to sign a one-year contract with a Vikings rival, the Detroit Lions, for the 2024 season after playing just four games in a purple jersey last season due to an ankle injury.

Marcus Davenport Signs with Lions

Marcus Davenport
Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Marcus Davenport (0) pressures Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported the news by tweeting, “The #Lions have agreed to terms with DE Marcus Davenport on a one-year deal, sources tell me and @RapSheet. Following a year with the #Vikings, the former first-round pick of the #Saints moves elsewhere in the NFC North.”

Davenport, a 2018 first-round pick by the New Orleans Saints, signed a one-year contract with the Vikings last offseason worth $13 million. However, only $6.2 million of that cap hit was applied to 2023, so now that he is headed elsewhere, the Vikings officially will have to eat $6.8 million in dead money for the 2024 season due to his void years.

The signing of Davenport was initially intended to be a replacement plan for Za’Darius Smith, who was traded to the Cleveland Browns last offseason, but that plan did not go accordingly.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Nov 17, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (92) works out prior to the game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Davenport missed the entirety of two of Minnesota’s first three games and was only able to play four snaps in Week 2 because of an ankle issue. He finally got onto the field consistently from Weeks 4-6, but following that Week 6 game against the Chicago Bears, Davenport headed to the IR.

The pass rusher would be sidelined for the remainder of the season, and as a result, Davenport has played 11 or fewer games in five of his first six NFL seasons. However, when he was on the field for the Vikings, he proved to be rather effective, putting together seven QB pressures and a pair of sacks.

As a result, the Lions are taking a chance on him as a high-risk, high-reward player to add to their defensive front. This move also reunites him with Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn who was the defensive backs coach for the New Orleans Saints during each of Davenport’s first three seasons in the league.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Minnesota Vikings
Oct 8, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws a pass as Minnesota Vikings linebacker Marcus Davenport (0) and defensive tackle Harrison Phillips (97) rush during the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Davenport will turn 28 years old on September 4th. His new deal with the Lions will pay him upwards of $10.5 million with a base of $6.5 million, per Ian Rapoport.


Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Focus and Pro Football Reference.

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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. 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.

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