Vikings Sign Former XFL, Ole Miss Linebacker DeMarquis Gates

Will Ragatz

After several days without any transactions, the Vikings have made a move in free agency. It's not exactly a big one, but it's a move nonetheless. They've signed former Houston Roughnecks (XFL) linebacker DeMarquis Gates to a one-year deal.

Gates was a standout through the first five weeks of the XFL season, which was halted and eventually cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Playing for the undefeated Roughnecks, Gates was seventh in the league with 32 tackles, and had also recorded three passes defended, two sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble.

The 24-year-old Gates played at Ole Miss from 2014 through 2017. Over his last two collegiate seasons, he recorded 193 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, and six sacks. Gates then had a brief stint with the Browns as an undrafted free agent before starring for the Memphis Express in the Alliance of American Football (AAF). He led the Express in tackles.

After the AAF folded, Gates spent 2019 training camp with the Redskins. Now, after once again playing at a high level in a lower-level league, he'll get his third shot to crack an NFL roster or practice squad.

Gates is the sixth linebacker on the Vikings roster. He joins a group headlined by Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr that also includes Eric Wilson, Ben Gedeon, and 2019 fifth-round pick Cameron Smith. Special teams stud Kentrell Brothers is a free agent and might not return.

NFL teams were able to sign XFL players beginning on Monday. Gates was not among our five players for the Vikings to target, but this is a solid depth addition.

The signing was first reported by Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

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