EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings have added additional power to their edge department.
Minnesota agreed to terms with free agent Marcus Davenport, the team announced Wednesday.
The 14th overall draft pick in 2018, Davenport has spent the past five seasons with the Saints.
He's started 32 of 63 games for New Orleans, totaling 21.5 sacks, 142 tackles (78 solo), 25 tackles for loss, seven forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and four passes defensed.
Davenport's most productive season occurred in 2021, when he racked up 9.0 sacks and tied his career-high with three forced fumbles.
View photos of Vikings OLB Marcus Davenport who the team agreed to terms on March 15.
Here are five things to know about the Vikings new edge rusher:
1. Highly ranked FA
Ahead of the 2023 New League Year, analytics site Pro Football Focus ranked Davenport as the top free agent edge defender. PFF's Brad Spielberger wrote:
Injuries once again hampered Davenport's season, but he's a remarkably effective pass rusher off the edge when healthy.
Since he entered the league in 2018, Davenport's 17.8-[percent] pass-rush win rate and 13.9-[percent] pressure percentage are both top-20 marks among edge defenders, and he's also earned a very respectable 82.1 run-defense grade for his career, which ranks 16thover the span.
Davenport has five straight campaigns grading above 70.0. The issue is that he's yet to log 600 snaps in a single season. At the end of the day, top-20 edge defenders against the pass and run don't reach free agency often, and while his injury list is long, it doesn't include any devastating ligament tears.
2. Former Roadrunner
Davenport shined at the University of Texas-San Antonio, where as a senior in 2017, he was the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year after recording 55 tackles and 8.5 sacks.
When Davenport was drafted in 2018, he became just the second Roadrunner to be selected in an NFL Draft, joining former Vikings tight end David Morgan (sixth round in 2016). Davenport and Morgan overlapped at UTSA from 2014-15.
3. Under the radar
A San Antonio native, Davenport played for John Paul Stevens High School but wasn't highly recruited.
Although he flew under the radar, his stats weren't too shabby. As a senior at JPS, Davenport totaled 73 tackles, including 10 for loss, 6.0 sacks and six pass breakups.
Davenport also played basketball and was an area qualifier in the 1,600-meter relay and shot put for the JPS track-and-field team.
4. Mental health advocate
In 2019, Davenport's support of mental health resources was highlighted by NOLA.com when he used the NFL's My Cause My Cleats initiative to promote awareness. NOLA's Amie Just wrote:
_Davenport always wanted to be a psychologist growing up, he said, but he began to realize as a college senior at UTSA that he wasn't the only one in strife with inner thoughts. _
"It's a real thing," Davenport told Just. "Everybody in this locker room has probably struggled at one point. Sometimes we don't talk about it because you don't want to seem, I guess, weak.
"If you don't know how to really dive in or talk about it or find ways to cope, you're bound to sometimes explode. Or fall apart," Davenport said. "There's a stigma to going to a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Most of the time, we think of it as a bad thing, which I don't think that's true. Sometimes you need it. Sometimes you need someone out of your box to listen, or even just to talk to."
5. Connection to Vikings Legend
Davenport has played closely the past five seasons with Saints edge defender Cameron Jordan, the son of Vikings Ring of Honor member Steve Jordan.