Free Agent Signing Is a Late Addition to Vikings Injury Report

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The first matchup in the 2023 campaign is coming closer for the Minnesota Vikings. Kevin O’Connell’s operation is scheduled to open the season with a contest at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a franchise that lost the retired GOAT Tom Brady in the offseason and replaced him by signing Baker Mayfield, a former first-overall pick who is running out of chances.

Free Agent Signing Is a Late Addition to Vikings Injury Report

Is a Late
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Also out of chances was defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, who was superseded by former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. With Donatell, half of the defensive starters departed from the Vikings, including longtime staple Eric Kendricks.

But whenever players leave, new guys can claim roster spots. It is a risk, but it can also be a chance. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah made some crucial additions in free agency, signing defensive lineman Dean Lowry, cornerback Byron Murphy, and edge defender Marcus Davenport. The former two should be good to go on Sunday, but Davenport might not. He was added to the injury report on Friday, the day of the last practice before the contest.

Free Agent Signing Is a Late Addition to Vikings Injury Report
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Minnesota’s head coach Kevin O’Connell spoke about his issue:

Marcus Davenport was limited today with an ankle, he took part in just about everything but he was limited and we’re gonna be just monitoring how he goes into the game feeling, something that happened yesterday, just a little bit of a tweak there. We want to be cautious there but we are optimistic that we should have Marcus.

Tweak is the infamous word that Mike Zimmer used to describe Danielle Hunter’s neck injury in 2020, a problem that would end up costing him the entire season, so Vikings fans are not particularly thrilled to hear that expression.

On whether it would affect his playing time, the coach said: “I don’t believe so. I think if he’s able to go, he would handle his full responsibility.”

The Vikings absolutely need their edge-rushing duo on the field to have a chance to have an improved defensive unit. The defensive coordinator and a bunch of players were let go to field a better defense after the disastrous 2022 season with opposing offenses, including those with bad QBs, marching up and down the field.

Is a Late Addition to Vikings Injury Report
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Since the Vikings bumped up Danielle Hunter’s salary, it was clear that the two outside linebackers would be the strength of the defense, not just because they are arguably the best players on the defensive side of the ball but also because the secondary is unproven and still a mystery. If they can’t hold up, which is a very real possibility, it is on the pass rush to disrupt the passing offense by putting pressure on Mayfield.

The other two players on the injury report are backup linebacker Troy Dye and punter Ryan Wright, who had some minor issues, but both will be ready for the season opener, according to O’Connell.

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Davenport aims to make his first career start with the Vikings after five years in New Orleans. He signed a one-year prove-it deal with the Vikings and wants to maximize his value in next year’s free agency period. For that to work, he needs a strong 2023 campaign, which would be a win-win for the organization and the player.

The 27-year-old was a highly-touted player coming out of the draft but never lived up to the hype with the Saints. Brian Flores hopes for that to change because it would make the defensive overhaul much easier.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt