The 2023 season just hasn’t broken the Minnesota Vikings’ way. After posting a 13-4 record in 2022, with the help of a lot of close game luck, the Vikings have already matched their previous season’s loss total just six weeks into this year.
Now, the team seems to be adding injury to insult. It has already been announced that receiver Justin Jefferson (hamstring) has been moved to the injured reserve, meaning that he’ll miss the Vikings’ Week 8 matchup against the Green Bay Packers. On Wednesday, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that pass-rusher Marcus Davenport, who was supposed to replace Za’Darius Smith after Smith was traded to the Cleveland Browns, is going to join Jefferson on the injured reserve — knocking him out of the matchup, as well.
Packers fans might remember Davenport as the player that the New Orleans Saints traded two first-round picks to move up for in the 2018 draft. Green Bay, the Saints’ trade partner, ended up drafting cornerback Jaire Alexander four picks behind Davenport and moved up nine picks from the Saints’ original first-round pick in the following draft to select safety Darnell Savage.
Leaving New Orleans with 21.5 sacks over five seasons, Davenport signed a one-year, $13 million contract with the Vikings this offseason. Minnesota converted virtually all of his money into some form of a bonus, meaning that they’ll end up paying about $8 million in cap accounting for that $13 million cash in future seasons.
With Davenport, who is dealing with a high ankle sprain, out of the picture, the expected starter opposite of Danielle Hunter on the edge for Minnesota is D.J. Wonnum. Wonnum, a 2020 fourth-round pick, has been in and out of the starting lineup for the Vikings for the better part of four seasons — but the team has tried to replace him in the starting lineup in recent years with the likes of Smith and Davenport. Now, Wonnum will revert back into an all-too-familiar role for Minnesota.