EAGAN, Minn. -- DeMarquis Gates is ready for his second Vikings stint. His first began when he was 4.

Gates, a free-agent linebacker who most recently played for the XFL’s Houston Roughnecks, agreed to contract terms with the Minnesota Vikings. In a phone interview, he laughed when recalling the first team he played for in 2000 when he was growing up in Atlanta.

“The Vikings were my first youth team,” said Gates, 24. “I played with them when I was 4 through 8. And because I used to play for the Vikings, I always used to watch the Vikings’ professional games.”

So, the Vikings became Gates’ favorite NFL team along with his hometown Atlanta Falcons. He said wide receiver Randy Moss was one of his favorite players, and that he had a great appreciation for quarterback Daunte Culpepper.

“I knew all about the Vikings,” Gates said.

Now, Gates will get a chance to learn about them first hand. He agreed Tuesday to a nonguaranteed one-year, $610,000 contract, a day after XFL players first could sign with NFL teams.

The first-year spring league canceled its season after five games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I feel like I can help (the Vikings) in every aspect,” Gates said. “Defense, special teams. Whatever they need, man. I’m going to go out and make some plays and hopefully earn a spot on the team.”

Gates was undrafted in 2018 out of Mississippi before signing with Cleveland as a free agent. He was waived, though, before the start of training camp.

It was a similar situation last year for Gates. He was signed by Washington after playing with the Memphis Express of the spring-league Alliance of American Football, which folded in the middle of its first season. But Gates again was cut before training camp.

“I think I’ve made major strides,” Gates said of his five games this year with the Roughnecks, which featured 32 tackles, including three for losses, two sacks and an interception.

The Browns and Redskins apparently agreed. Each tried to again sign Gates before he committed to Minnesota.

“The Vikings, they wanted me last year and I didn’t give them the chance,’’ said Gates, who can play both middle and outside linebacker. “They stayed on me, and I felt like they really wanted me. I just didn’t want to take that same route and have (Cleveland and Washington) saying whatever just to get me in and use me as a camp body.”

The deal with the Vikings was sealed when Gates had conversations with assistant general manager George Paton and co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Adam Zimmer. Gates said much of the talk was about doing what he can to stay in shape with the uncertainty, because of the pandemic, over when players will be able to go to team facilities.

In the meantime, Gates is working out at Hotworx, a gym in Jackson, Miss., that has remained open. Gates said Hotworx officials have said that, because workouts are done in a heated studio, they are safer during the pandemic than traditional gym activities.

In the meantime, Gates remains anxious to stick around for a while with a team.

“You can say it’s frustrating,” Gates said. “You get a little disappointed. But I just got to keep my head down and keep working and now another opportunity has popped up and I’m nothing but thankful and grateful for it.”

After all, Gates has been a Vikings fan for 20 years.