Vikings add Jesse Davis to likely start at right guard, sign cornerbacks Nate Hairston, Tye Smith

Davis, 30, started 72 of the 80 games he played for the past five seasons for the Miami Dolphins. He has started games at tackle and guard, getting 14 starts in 2021 at right tackle and two at left guard.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins guard Jesse Davis (77) looks to block Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes (55) in the second quarter Oct. 31, 2021, at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.
Mark Konezny / USA Today Sports

EAGAN, Minnesota — After losing out last week in an attempt to sign restricted free-agent Ryan Bates as a potential starting right guard, the Minnesota Vikings on Monday landed veteran free agent Jesse Davis.

A source said that Davis signed a one-year, $3 million deal and is the leading candidate to be the starter at right guard. His deal included a $1.25 million base salary, a $1.5 million signing bonus, a $50,000 workout bonus and $200,000 in bonuses for games played.

The Vikings on Monday also signed cornerback Nate Hairston and re-signed cornerback Tye Smith. Hairston, who has been mostly a reserve in five NFL seasons, and Davis visited Minnesota on Monday as outside free agents.

Davis, 30, started 72 of the 80 games he played over the past five seasons for the Miami Dolphins. He has started games at tackle and guard, getting 14 starts in 2021 at right tackle and two at left guard. He struggled last season at right tackle, being ranked No. 79 among 83 tackles by Pro Football Focus.

The Vikings previously looked at Bates as a possibility for that spot, but the Buffalo restricted free agent decided instead to sign an offer sheet with Chicago after also visiting Minnesota. On Monday, Bills general manager Brandon Beane said the team would match the offer that Pro Football Network reported is worth $17 million over four years with $9 million guaranteed in the first two years.


Oli Udoh was the primary starter last season at right guard, but he had his share of struggles. Mason Cole took over the spot for three games in December and was effective but he missed the final three games with an elbow injury and then signed as a free agent with Pittsburgh. The Vikings also have second-year guard Wyatt Davis.

Davis was released by the Dolphins last Thursday. He made a base salary last season of $3.11 million.

Hairston, 27, has started just 18 of the 59 games he has played in the past five seasons with Indianapolis, the New York Jets and Denver. He started once in 16 games last season for the Broncos while making a minimum salary of $990,000. Hairston played in 2020 and 2021 for Denver defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, who now has that role with the Vikings.

Hairston will provide depth in the secondary along with Smith, 28, who is entering his sixth NFL season and second with Minnesota. Smith spent last season on the practice squad, but did get into five games while playing mostly on special teams.

Sullivan's deal

Defensive back Chandon Sullivan, who signed last Friday with the Vikings, got a one-year deal worth $1.035 million with a signing bonus of $665,000 and a workout bonus of $50,000 for a salary-cap number of $1.75 million.

Sullivan has $660,000 worth of incentives, which could make his total deal worth as much as $2.41 million. He had said Saturday that his contract “potentially” could be worth between $2 million and $3 million with incentives.

2024 draft to Detroit

The NFL on Monday awarded the 2024 NFL draft to Detroit, and now the Vikings hope to get one after that.

Minnesota had initially applied to host a draft in 2024, 2025 or 2026. After Detroit was named one of the three finalists last year for 2024 along with Green Bay and Washington, the Vikings also submitted interest for 2027.

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