Vikings Aren’t Rebuilding. Just Ask the New Guy.

Contribution from Free
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.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell took over the Minnesota Vikings early in 2022, and onlookers didn’t know quite what to expect in the first few weeks.

Would the team rebuild or re-commit to winning a Super Bowl as soon as the twosome’s arrival?

Vikings Aren’t Rebuilding. Just Ask the New Guy.

The answer was a marriage of both worlds.

Adofo-Mensah said 15 months ago about his roster-building strategy, “I think when people look at teams, they sometimes do it in a very binary way. And they ask, ‘Are you either all-in or tearing down and rebuilding?’ And I don’t really look at the world that way.”

The young executive believes in winning, or ‘living in the now,’ while preparing for the future — simultaneously.

And during Adofo-Mensah’s second free agency, he signed EDGE rusher Marcus Davenport, who has an expedited timeline regarding the Vikings 2023 expectations.

Just Ask the New
Apr 26, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas-San Antonio defensive end Marcus Davenport arrives on the red carpet before the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero visited Vikings organized team activities this week and asked Davenport about his mission statement for 2023. Davenport replied, “I only got one expectation. That’s the Super Bowl. And so, from there, it’s one of those things where we’ll just have to see. My point is Super Bowl, and then we’ll see.”

Davenport has tabulated 21.5 sacks, 142 combined tackles, 25 tackles for loss, and 60 quarterback hits in five NFL seasons to date.

The Vikings Have 4
Sep 25, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (92) rushes off the field against the Carolina Panthers during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports.

The new Viking was also asked about why he enjoyed Minnesota’s defense at OTAs. He explained, “Aggression. Everything I’ve gotten from just looking at the team and Brian Flores’ system is just ‘attack’ — putting yourself in the best position to attack. From there, everyone else is gonna have to see, but we’re just working on that.”

Davenport is under contract with the Vikings for just one season, possessing the option to renegotiate next March and extend his stay. Yet, for now, it’s one hurrah, and Davenport didn’t join the purple and gold team to dink around with some ‘rebuild’ just to finish below .500 and bank draft picks. He’s in it to win it, and the Super Bowl is the goal — beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Boom or Bust
Nov 17, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (92) works out prior to the game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota won 13 games in 2022, only the third time in history the club has achieved such a feat. The Vikings also won the NFC North for the first time since 2017, and then if they do so again in 2023, it’ll be Minnesota’s first back-to-back division titles since 2008 and 2009.

Adofo-Mensah has indeed constructed a roster — and hired Flores as defensive coordinator — to make a run at the Super Bowl in his second year of employment. But he also has financial flexibility for 2024 and beyond. Most of that nimble territory involves Kirk Cousins and his absence from the 2024 budget. For now, 2023 is scheduled as Cousins’ last year in Minnesota.

But according to Davenport, this objective is undeniable — win a Super Bowl this year.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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