Is the Marcus Davenport Debut* Coming?

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Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Marcus Davenport addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Davenport joined the Vikings in March of 2023 after four seasons with the New Orleans Saints.

For the first time as a member of the Minnesota Vikings, EDGE rusher Marcus Davenport has a chance to play a full game. After doing next to nothing through the first three weeks of his tenure in Minnesota, a questionable tag on the final injury report means he could be unleashed on Sunday.

Is the Marcus Davenport Debut* Coming?

When the Minnesota Vikings take the field against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon, they’ll be looking to avoid an 0-4 start for the first time since the 2011 season. That year, Leslie Frazier’s squad finished 3-13, and while the playoffs aren’t likely for the current group, they’d certainly like to win more games. Marcus Davenport pairing with Danielle Hunter on the edges should help to accomplish that.

With Za’Darius Smith forcing his way out of Minnesota after a successful rebound year a season ago, the Vikings needed to find another option to line up opposite of Hunter. Rather than roll with internal candidate D.J. Wonnum, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah decided that the former New Orleans Saints pass rusher was worthy of a contract. Davenport has shown success when on the field, but his inability to be available has been a theme throughout his career.

Is the Marcus
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Similar to Smith a season ago, Davenport came to the Vikings looking for an opportunity to re-establish himself as a viable defensive option in the league. He put up just a half of a sack last season despite appearing in 15 games, and the nine sacks he tallied in 2021 looked more like a mirage than anything of predictability.

Playing just four snaps against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2, Davenport has contributed nothing for Minnesota. Working back through an ankle injury, and with an uncertain timeline as to when he would get back in the starting lineup, seeing him listed as questionable on the final injury report is something of a pleasant surprise.

As Davenport does return to the starting lineup, he’ll join a guy that trails on T.J. Watt in sacks across the entirety of the league. Hunter has brought down the opposing quarterback five times through the first three weeks of the season. He has picked up where he left off a year ago, and has certainly looked worthy of the payday he consistently asked for this offseason.

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Last year, Hunter found himself trading off with Smith when the latter lagged down the stretch. It was Smith who got off to a fast start in the sacks category, and Hunter made up for his lacking production as the season went on. Brian Flores is hoping that the insertion of Davenport into his defense will give both players an opportunity for more one-on-one matchups, and each being able to pressure the quarterback would be an ideal scenario.

Through the first three weeks, Minnesota’s defense has been very aggressive from a blitzing standpoint. That’s not a surprise given Flores is the coordinator, but the group hasn’t gotten home often enough. With a bigger push up front from the edges, specifically as Davenport comes back, the hope would be that the defense as a whole can benefit.

Vikings Latest Free
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No matter what, it’s good to see that Davenport is trending towards his second start of the season. Hopefully this one comes with more than four snaps to his name, and real production would be a much welcomed sight.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.