LB Demarquis Gates
After the XFL died when the pandemic hit, NFL teams began signing their players. The Minnesota Vikings were one of these teams and grabbed linebacker Demarquis Gates from the Houston Roughnecks.
The 6’2, 221-pound Gates was pretty impressive in his time with the Roughnecks. He had 32 total tackles, two sacks, three tackles for a loss, one interception, one forced fumble, three pass breakups, and three fumble recoveries. He was an opportunistic, playmaking linebacker with great athletic ability. Gates also loved to deliver big bone-jarring hits and showed good form in his tackles.
While he was impressive in the five games he played in the ill-fated league, he’ll have an extremely tall task in front of him if he’s going to make the Minnesota Vikings. Gates will be competing for a backup job and will be fighting with players like Ben Gedeon, Troy Dye, and Cameron Smith for a job.
Troy Dye was a fourth-round pick and is all but a assured a spot on the team, so it really comes down to Gedeon, Smith, and gates for that fifth linebacker job. Gedeon isn’t an exciting player, but he’s solid and the team knows what it will get with him. Smith couldn’t crack the final roster a season ago and bounced back and forth between the active roster and the practice squad.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Gates impresses and jumps these two to make the team, but with OTAs and mini-camps already being canceled, he’s lost valuable opportunities to make his mark. He’s fallen far behind Gedeon and Smith, and the team may go with a known commodity instead of a flash in the pan from an inferior league.