Key Vikings Defender Hits IR
The move felt predictable from the moment Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell opened his mouth on the topic to start the week, and now it’s a formality.
Key Vikings Defender Hits IR
Outside linebacker Marcus Davenport was placed on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain and will miss at least four games.
The move hits as the Vikings defense had recently begun to find its footing and as Justin Jefferson was placed on the same injured list one week ago. In short, Minnesota will attempt to turn around the 2023 season without two keynote contributors from separate sides of the ball in Jefferson and Davenport.
Such is life in the NFL, however, and perhaps Davenport will return just before Thanksgiving. The Vikings host the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football in Week 7 — an unfriendly assignment — but after that, the schedule opens up with games versus the Packers, Falcons, Saints, Bears, Broncos, and Raiders.
Davenport missed most of the Vikings first three games as well before returning against the Carolina Panthers in Week 4. And in a not-so-fun forecast, Minnesota’s pass rush was quite wimpy sans Davenport during his first absence. We shall see if this episode is any different.
Davenport arrived in Minneapolis seven months ago, one of the premiere 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, aiding 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.
To date in 2023, Davenport has logged 6 QB pressures, 2 sacks, and 2 tackles for loss in 3 starts.
Without Davenport, the Vikings will presumably pivot to pass rushers D.J. Wonnum, Patrick Jones, and rookie Andre Carter. Wonnum has amassed a handful of magnificent games in recent weeks.
Notable EDGE rushers Frank Clark, Robert Quinn, and Melvin Ingram, among others, are available on the free-agent market.
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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).