Marcus Davenport Joins Vikings’ Rival

Contribution from Free
Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Marcus Davenport addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Davenport joined the Vikings in March of 2023 after four seasons with the New Orleans Saints.

He didn’t work out in Minnesota — at all — and now Marcus Davenport will join a Vikings’ rival.

Marcus Davenport Joins Vikings’ Rival

That’s the Detroit Lions, a club that won the NFC North in 2023 and reached the NFC Championship.

Marcus Davenport
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

ESPN’s Mike Garafolo tweeted Monday, the first day of free agency, “The Lions have agreed to terms with DE Marcus Davenport on a one-year deal, sources tell me and Ian Rapoport. Following a year with the Vikings, the former first-round pick of the Saints moves elsewhere in the NFC North.”

Davenport was great for the Vikings in 2023 — when he played. The former New Orleans Saint played in four games last season, which was really only three because he tried to play against the Philadelphia Eagles but limped to the sidelines after one drive. He was a difference-maker for three contests and then succumbed to a high ankle sprain. No one heard from him thereafter. His contract — one year, $13 million — would’ve been more than worth it if he played, but he did not, for the most part.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.

Meanwhile, Minnesota needed at least two starting outside linebackers for the 2024 campaign. Danielle Hunter is a free agent, and his return is doubtful. Patrick Jones II and Andre Carter II were the only two EDGE defenders under contract entering the offseason, so fans expected ample attention to the position in free agency and the 2024 NFL Draft. The Vikings didn’t disappoint.

Accordingly, the Vikings signed Jonathan Greenard of the Houston Texans and Andrew Van Ginkel from the Miami Dolphins on Monday, presumably to replace Davenport — and probably Hunter.

For the Lions, Detroit was up 24-7 over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC title game, a team favored by a touchdown entering the matchup. But then the hungry Lions collapsed. The 49ers rallied, erased the Lions’ 24-7 lead in about 30 minutes of real-life time, took the lead, and completed the most significant comeback in the history of the NFC or AFC Championship. And in a mind-bending turn of events, even the Vikings had never collapsed that grossly on a grander stage.

Choice for the NFC
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Now, Detroit hopes to replicate its 2023 success in 2024, although a target will be on its back as the NFC North victor and almost-Super-Bowl-participant.

These are the Lions’ EDGE rushers under contract as of 5:30 pm CST on March 11th:

  • Aidan Hutchinson
  • Josh Paschal
  • John Cominsky
  • Marcus Davenport
  • James Houston
  • Mathieu Betts
  • Mitchell Agude

Vikings fans vociferously criticized Davenport for a commitment to the team’s success after he never returned from the high ankle sprain, though the theory was never proven.

The Vikings Have 4
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports.

Davenport will turn 28 in September. $6.8 million of his dead cap funds will solidify against the Vikings’ 2024 budget on Wednesday.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by