EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings have added to their linebackers group, the team announced Wednesday.
Minnesota agreed to terms with free agent Cheap DeMarquis Gates Jersey, who most recently played for the XFL’s Houston Roughnecks.
Being that the XFL’s season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic after just five games, players from the league were allowed to sign with NFL teams. Gates’ Roughnecks ended their debut campaign as the league’s lone undefeated squad at 5-0.
Here are five things to know about the new Vikings linebacker:
- Making the highlight reel
Gates played a key role in the Roughnecks defense, coming up with big plays like the one below, which initially appeared to be an interception but was called a fumble recovery in the stats book. The play clinched a Houston win over Dallas.
His 32 combined tackles tied for fifth in the XFL, according to league stats. Gates also had 2.0 sacks, three quarterback hits, three tackles for loss, three passes defensed, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries and an interception through five games.
- Multiple stops along the way
Gates has played for three professional football leagues.
He initially joined the Browns in 2018 as an undrafted free agent but was released. He then played for Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football. Gates led the AAF with 52 tackles and five forced fumbles through eight games before the league folded.
In April 2019, Gates signed with the Redskins but was waived in June.
- Rebel before a Roughneck
Gates played at Ole Miss from 2014-17, leading the Rebels in tackles each of his final three seasons.
As a senior, he became the first Ole Miss player to record more than 100 tackles since five-time All-Pro Patrick Willis accomplished the feat in 2006.
Gates’ 70 solo tackles in 2017 topped the SEC and put him at 13th-best in FBS. His 9.5 tackles per game ranked third in the conference.
- Georgia native
Gates hails from Hampton, Georgia, where he attended Lovejoy High School and was named a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, 247Sports.com and ESPN.com. Rivals.com listed him as the No. 19 outside linebacker in the country despite the fact that he missed his senior season with a torn ACL.
As a junior at Lovejoy, Gates recorded 132 tackles and was named All-Region.
Other notable names who have graduated from Lovejoy include Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams and former running back Tashard Choice.
- One of three
Gates was raised by his aunt and uncle, Tia and Leon Dillard. He has two sisters and shared on Instagram that the trio of siblings is close.