Vikings Defender to Hit the Shelf Indefinitely

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.

The Minnesota Vikings already have Justin Jefferson on the shelf for the next three-plus games, and another prominent player will reportedly join him soon.

Marcus Davenport was injured Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field during the Vikings 19-13 ugly-but-important win over the Chicago Bears. He came up hobbled in the 2nd Quarter and did not return.

Vikings Defender to Hit the Shelf Indefinitely

And according to NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport, Davenport will miss at least a month with a high ankle sprain, probably longer.

Defender to Hit the Shelf
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

Rapoport tweeted Monday evening, “Vikings pass-rusher Marcus Davenport suffered a high-ankle sprain in Sunday’s win, sources said after the MRI. Those generally have a recovery time of 4-6 weeks, making Davenport an Injured Reserve candidate.”

Davenport had played in four Vikings games so far in 2023 but essentially three after checking out early of the Week 2 game at Philadelphia because of injury.

Naughty List
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports.

Before the Rapoport tweet, Vikings head coach O’Connell was asked about Davenport’s setback Monday and replied, “Definitely something we’re going to have to really take a look at from a medical standpoint.”

O’Connell usually remains optimistic with reporters about his players’ injuries, so the response indicated a longer absence, which has now evidently come to fruition.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

Davenport arrived in Minneapolis seven months ago, one of the keynote free-agent signings by the Vikings during free agency. He inked a one-year, $13 million deal and was on tap to replace Za’Darius Smith, who was later traded to the Cleveland Browns. Through five games in Cleveland, Smith has logged 7 pressures and zero sacks.

Two weeks ago, Davenport tallied 4 tackles, 2 pressures, a sack, a QB hit, and a tackle for loss in Charlotte, propelling the Vikings toward their first victory of 2023 over the Panthers, which was desperately needed if the club wanted to contend for the postseason. The vision to pair him with Danielle Hunter was in full effect and even emulated last year’s early-season success involving Hunter and the aforementioned Smith.

Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports.

Overall, Davenport has logged 6 QB pressures, 2 sacks, and 2 tackles for loss in 3 starts and was starting to hit a groove in Brian Flores’ aggressive defense. Now, all of that hits the pause button.

The Vikings will presumably pivot to pass rushers D.J. Wonnum, Patrick Jones, and rookie Andre Carter with Davenport on IR. Wonnum has assembled a couple of wonderful games in recent weeks.

Notable pass rushers Frank Clark, Robert Quinn, and Melvin Ingram, among others, are available on the free-agent market.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by