Vikings Buy Time on Marcus Davenport Decision

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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.

Monday started with this Marcus Davenport update from ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, “The Vikings’ 1-year deal with Marcus Davenport had 4 voidable years that lowered his 2023 cap number ($6.2m). As Jason Fitzgerald of notes, the deal voids today + creates $6.8m of dead money. Davenport received an $8.5m signing bonus, $1.5m salary and $468k in roster bonuses for 4 games.”

Vikings Buy Time on Marcus Davenport Decision

But that declaration was a bit premature, as the Vikings evidently bought time on a Davenport conclusion. Seifert updated the tweet, “Update: The Vikings re-negotiated the void date on Marcus Davenport’s deal this weekend. It now matches the expiration date for the deals of Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter (3/13). A little more time to see if there is any common ground. Davenport’s deal will NOT void today.”

Vikings Buy Time
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So, Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah now has slightly over three weeks to render a final Davenport verdict.

Davenport was great in 2023 — when he played. The former New Orleans Saint played in four games last season, which was really only three because he tried to play against the Philadelphia Eagles but limped to the sidelines after one drive. He was a difference-maker for three contests and then succumbed to a high ankle sprain. No one heard from him thereafter. His contract — one year, $13 million — would’ve been more than worth it if he played, but he did not, for the most part.

Draft Analyst
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The procedural move to March 13 leaves the door open for an affordable Davenport reunion, although most don’t believe that will materialize. If March 13th passes with no Davenport extension, Monday’s move won’t matter. There was no downside to the maneuver uplifted in the Seifert tweet.

Meanwhile, Minnesota needs at least two starting outside linebackers for the 2024 campaign. The aforementioned Hunter is scheduled to hit free agency in three weeks, and his return is up in the air. Patrick Jones II and Andre Carter II are the only two EDGE defenders under contract in 2024, so expect ample attention to the position in free agency and the 2024 NFL Draft. Of course, the anxiety can be cut in half if Hunter is re-signed.

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On Davenport, some Vikings fans used social media to freak out. The outrage was totally unnecessary, but some couldn’t avoid a mind-boggling irrational platform to chide Minnesota’s general manager. Kent Christensen tweeted, “49 million of dead cap money between Kirk, Hunter and Davenport. Kwesi has destroyed this team. His drafting, roster construction and cap management has been just awful.”

Adofo-Mensah inherited several bloated veteran contracts and has used the last two offseasons to situate the Vikings with favorable cap space entering March for the first time in about eight years. Normally when a Vikings offseason rolls around, the club is underwater via the salary cap, needing to scratch and claw to get in the green. But 2024 is different. Minnesota has about $25 million in cap space.

Naughty List
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Jonathan Groeneweg tweeted Monday, “Kwesi just endlessly kicks the decision cans down the road. Wait wait wait until he’s backed into a lose-lose corner.”

The post was particularly odd because the March 13th move regarding Davenport does nothing to kick the can down the road other than buy a few days to decide if a reunion is possible.

Davenport will turn 28 in September.

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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