Marcus Davenport’s Prognosis Doesn’t Sound Good

Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers place kicker Eddy Pineiro (4) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Marcus Davenport (0) during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings are 2-4 through six games after toppling the Chicago Bears on the road in Week 6, a perhaps season-saving win as falling to 1-5 might’ve been insurmountable.

Along the way, the Vikings defense continued to grow, holding a previously hot Bears offense to 13 points and 275 total yards while forcing three turnovers.

Marcus Davenport’s Prognosis Doesn’t Sound Good

But in the 2nd Quarter, newcomer Vkings pass rusher Marcus Davenport left the game with a leg injury and didn’t return. The following day, head coach Kevin O’Connell didn’t sound overly optimistic about Davenport’s short- or long-term return.

Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Marcus Davenport (0) pressures Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

O’Connell was asked about Davenport’s setback and replied, “Definitely something we’re going to have to really take a look at from a medical standpoint.”

Of course, those 16 words are neutral and could indicate something minor for the 27-year-old. However, in Kevin O’Connell-speak, that seems like code for a prolonged absence. O’Connell, widely known for eternal optimism, usually utilizes more hopeful lingo than that regarding his players. “Really take a look at from a medical standpoint” could be a precursor to an IR stint.

Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell runs off the field after pregame warmups before a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports.

O’Connell is usually fairly quick to let media and fans know an injury is minor or day-to-day, and in recent circumstances with Justin Jefferson and Nick Mullens — Davenport now, too —he tends to tip his hand that a longer absence is afoot.

The same situation occurred last week when O’Connell explained Jefferson’s injury on a Monday; Jefferson hit injured reserve on a Wednesday.

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.

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, 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.

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.

Now, Vikings fans will await official word on Davenport’s injury regardless of O’Connell’s seemingly foreboding forecast. To date, Davenport has logged 6 QB pressures, 2 sacks, and 2 tackles for loss in 3 starts.

If Davenport misses time, the Vikings will pivot to pass rushers D.J. Wonnum, Patrick Jones, and rookie Andre Carter. Wonnum has amassed a handful of wonderful games in recent weeks.

Notable EDGE 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).

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