Vikings Cut Ties With $13 Million Pass Rusher Who Joins NFC Rival: Report

Kevin O'Connell

Getty Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell

The Minnesota Vikings fortified their linebacker room in anticipation of an exodus among their edge rushers — and the first to go is Marcus Davenport.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported on March 11 that the Detroit Lions “have agreed to terms with DE Marcus Davenport on a one-year deal.

“Following a year with the #Vikings, the former first-round pick of the #Saints moves elsewhere in the NFC North,” Garafolo wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

The Vikings have agreed to terms with three linebackers to start free agency: outside linebackers Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel and homegrown inside linebacker Blake Cashman.

They’ll help fill the potential holes left by Davenport and potentially Danielle Hunter, D.J. Wonnum, who are considered likely to walk in free agency.

Vikings Have Missed Marcus Davenport Since He Signed to Minnesota

Marcus Davenport, Saints

GettyEdge defender Marcus Davenport, formerly of the New Orleans Saints, joined the Minnesota Vikings in 2023 on a one-year deal.

The good news is the NFC North champion Lions appear to have not landed Hunter despite being in the market for a premier edge rusher.

Davenport has the potential to be that in Detroit, but his memory in Minnesota is far from flattering.

The former Saints first-rounder signed a one-year, $13 million prove-it deal with the Vikings last March but played just two full games due to a pair of ankle injuries he suffered in 2023.

Davenport was an upside gamble the Vikings made. His 81.2 pass-rushing grade since the 2020 season ranked 22nd among the 104 edge defenders who’ve logged at least 500 pass-rushing snaps over that stretch, per Pro Football Focus (PFF). His 15.1% pressure rate ranked 11th.

But Davenport had never surpassed 600 defensive snaps in a single season, and he played just 118 snaps for the Vikings.

When he was on the field he was effective. Davenport logged 2.0 sacks and two tackles for loss in the pair of games he played from start to finish.

There was a belief that the Vikings and Davenport, who agreed to push back the date on his contract voiding, might work out an extension — but it appears Davenport will move on and take his efforts to the Lions.

Vikings Reunite Brian Flores, Andrew Van Ginkel

Giants connected to Dolphins pass rusher Andrew Van Ginkel in NFL free agency.

GettyMiami Dolphins edge rusher Andrew Van Ginkel

The Vikings’ trio of linebacker signings on Monday sparked new life in Brian Flores’ defense that was devoid of any consistent pass rush outside of Hunter.

Van Ginkel reunites with Flores after the former Dolphins coach drafted him in the fifth round of the 2019 draft.

The Athletic’s Alec Lewis found Van Ginkel to fit Flores’ scheme “perfectly.”

“Whereas Danielle Hunter and D.J. Wonnum are more traditional defensive ends, Van Ginkel is nearly 20 pounds lighter and more effective at dropping into space. If you watched the Vikings defense last season, you saw how frequently Flores was willing to use his edge rushers as occupiers in zones,” Lewis wrote.

“Flores is also aware of how capable Van Ginkel is. Flores was responsible for drafting him in the fifth round when he was the head coach of the Dolphins. He observed Van Ginkel’s progression from college talent at Wisconsin to NFL starter. Van Ginkel became one of the most trusted players on the Dolphins defense, compiling 250 tackles and 17 sacks over the last five years.”

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