Marcus Davenport‘s Vikings tenure has run into renewed injury trouble. The veteran edge rusher is dealing with a high ankle sprain and is likely facing a four-to-six week absence as a result, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
The news makes Davenport a candidate to be placed on injured reserve, something which would sideline him for at least four weeks. The 27-year-old was limited to just four snaps across Minnesota’s first three games this season, his first with the Vikings. Davenport inked a one-year, $13MM deal including $10MM guaranteed in free agency.
That pact resulted in high expectations for the former Saints first-rounder, who has contributed when healthy in 2023. Davenport posted one sack in each of his two full games, adding four quarterback hits and a pair of tackles for loss in that span. The injury suffered during Minnesota’s Week 6 win over the Bears forced him to be carted off the field, though, and it threatens to cost him signficant time through the middle portion of the campaign.
The Vikings entrusted Davenport with a starting role to help offset the Za’Darius Smith trade and provide a complimentary presence to Danielle Hunter. The latter was mentioned in frequent trade speculation this offseason, but he ultimately signed a revised one-year pact which provided a raise compared to his original 2023 compensation. Both Hunter (who has his own track record of lengthy injury-induced absences) and Davenport are set to hit free agency in March, so an extended stretch without the pair in place could hinder not only the team’s edge rush but also their respective markets come the spring.
Hunter has posted a league-leading eight sacks so far, but Minnesota will need to find a new bookend for at least the short term while Davenport (who was unable to play a full season in any of his five years in New Orleans) recovers. Former fourth-rounder D.J. Wonnum – who ranks tied for second amongst Vikings edge rushers with two sacks – could be in line for an increased workload with Davenport not in the fold. Minnesota also has 2021 third-rounder Patrick Jones and undrafted rookie Andre Carter in place as depth options in the pass-rush department.