Marcus Davenport Injury Opens Door for Top Vikings Rookie

Andre Carter II, Vikings

Getty Edge-rusher Andre Carter II of the Minnesota Vikings.

Minnesota Vikings edge-rusher Marcus Davenport suffered another injury on Sunday, though there is a silver lining to what looks like it could be an extended absence.

The Vikings spent relatively huge money to secure undrafted free agent (UDFA) rookie defensive end Andre Carter II out of Army this offseason. The team inked the 6’6″, 256-pound pass-rusher to a three-year, $2.7 million deal with $340,000 fully-guaranteed at signing. That kind of guaranteed money for a UDFA is almost unheard of in the NFL, indicating how seriously Minnesota believes in the 23-year-old collegiate standout.

Carter recorded 17 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks at Army across 13 games in 2021, finishing his career there with 19 sacks total. He had played just 37 total snaps in two appearances for the Vikings through five weeks in 2023 — 17 on defense and 20 on special teams. (Statistics provided are accurate up to kickoff of Minnesota’s Week-6 matchup with the Chicago Bears).

However, with Davenport now potentially out for multiple games, the Vikings have an opportunity to let Carter off the leash and see what he can do at the professional level. But Minnesota will first need to bench Patrick Jones II to clear Carter’s path.

Patrick Jones Has Had Minimal Impact Playing in Place of Marcus Davenport

Patrick Jones II, Vikings

GettyEdge-rusher Patrick Jones II of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates after a sack during an NFL game against the New York Jets in December 2022. 

David Kenyon of Bleacher Report suggested the Vikings bench Jones on Saturday, October 14, one day before Davenport suffered his most recent injury. Kenyon did, however, cite all the health issues Davenport has dealt with since Minnesota signed him to a one-year, $13 million deal in March.

“Marcus Davenport has effectively missed three games, and those absences have exposed a major lack of edge-rushing depth,” Kenyon wrote. “Patrick Jones II has logged 51 percent of snaps but mustered six tackles and zero sacks. It’s worth seeing what rookie Andre Carter II, who’s managed 17 snaps but had 24.5 [tackles for loss] in his last two college years, can do.”

Jones added 3 more tackles to his season total on Sunday in Chicago, though he didn’t make any impact plays, such as a quarterback hit, a sack or a tackle for loss.

Andre Carter Deserves Shot to Play After Marcus Davenport’s Latest Injury

Marcus Davenport, Vikings

GettyPass-rusher Marcus Davenport of the Minnesota Vikings sacks quarterback Bryce Young of the Carolina Panthers during an NFL game in October 2023.

Minnesota saved its season with an ugly 19-13 victory over the Bears on Sunday, though mostly without the help of Davenport.

The defensive end turned outside linebacker left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury and was unable to make it to the locker room on his own power, as team doctors carted him off the field.

“The Marcus Davenport injury is the opposite ankle to the one that affected his availability through the first few weeks,” Alec Lewis of The Athletic reported via X. “[He] exited the Vikings’ locker room with a boot on his left leg postgame.”

Davenport has been reasonably good when he’s been able to play, tallying 6 pressures, 4 QB hits and 2 sacks through five games, two of which he missed entirely. He did not register a defensive statistic against the Bears before exiting the contest due to injury.

Considering Jones’ lack of production across roughly half of the Vikings’ defensive snaps this season, it is time Minnesota gave Carter his shot.

Read More