Unpopular Vikings Free Agent Joins Detroit Lions

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Free agency opened with a bang for the Minnesota Vikings who added a trio of excellent defenders on Monday. Linebacker Blake Cashman will take over for Jordan Hicks while pass-rushers Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel bolster the pass rush as Danielle Hunter and D.J. Wonnum exit the organization.

Unpopular Vikings Free Agent Joins Detroit Lions

Disappointing Vikings Free Agent Joins Division Rivals
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The third player of last year’s edge-rushing rotation, Marcus Davenport, will join the Detroit Lions after spending the 2023 campaign with the Vikings.

Davenport was a gigantic free-agent bust for general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as a pair of ankle injuries simply kept him off the field for all but four games. He exited two of those contests and logged only a total of 118 snaps on defense for a total of $13 million.

Mike Garafolo tweeted: “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.”

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The former first-rounder of the Saints collected 2 sacks, 7 tackles, and 2 tackles for loss. When he was on the field, he was actually a difference-maker, showing why the Vikings opened their bag for the UTSA product.

After all, though, availability is the best ability and Davenport wasn’t available. He will now enter a loaded roster in Detroit. They even have a bunch of edge rushers so he can share the snaps with Aidan Hutchinson Romeo Okwara, and Josh Paschal.

The defender signed a one-year $13 million prove-it deal in Minnesota because he had previously missed time in every season with the Saints. His campaign in Minnesota hasn’t helped his future outlook. Because the contract was limited to one season, there wasn’t much risk involved for Minnesota but it was still a costly acquisition.

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The pass-rusher will face his former team, the Vikings, twice in 2024 but his return to U.S. Bank Stadium is unlikely to be a nice one for him as he has not quite become a fan favorite for fans of the purple team.

An advantage of Davenport and perhaps his best skill is inside/outside flexibility. He is big enough to rush from the inside but quick and fast enough to go after the passer from the outside. The 27-year-old will be an asset in both run and pass defense.

Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (43) and linebacker David Long Jr., rear, celebrate a sack against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Dec. 24, 2023. © Jim Rassol / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Vikings, meanwhile, have swapped out their top three rushers, parting ways with Davenport, Wonnum, and Hunter while adding Greenard and Van Ginkel. Defensive coordinator Brian Flores gets some reinforcements to a defense that desperately needed it.

Minnesota’s defensive group ranked 13th in points allowed, 16th in yards, 14th in yards per play, and 17th in EPA/play last year. Having the two pass-rushers available would be a huge upgrade compared to 2023.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt