Tyler Forness and I are taking a closer look at the Minnesota Vikings’ 2023 group of outside linebackers and edge rushers. With the departure of Za’Darius Smith, the Vikings are looking to sixth-year pass rusher Marcus Davenport to step up and show his potential. The show will also explore the potential of young players like D.J. Wonnum, Patrick Jones II, Andre Carter II, and Luiji Vilain, and whether they can develop into dominant forces in the league.
As we continue to make our way through each position group on the roster, we have made our way to the edge rushers. A position that the Minnesota Vikings both had top-end talent and questionable depth, that carries over from last year.
Gone is Za’Darius Smith, as he was traded to the Cleveland Browns in May. In his place steps sixth-year pass rusher Marcus Davenport, who has more upside with just as many injury concerns.
With him and Danielle Hunter, who still needs a new contract, the Vikings are set to have a solid edge room. Hunter, who is a top-tier pass rusher, is still seeking a new contract. The Vikings must work out a deal with him as soon as possible because they cannot afford to lose him in the future.
Marcus Davenport, on the other hand, has shown flashes of brilliance but has also had some injury concerns. The Vikings are hoping that he can stay healthy and develop into the player they envisioned when they drafted him.
The rest of the group has some question marks. D.J. Wonnum showed signs of growth last year, but the Vikings need to see more from him to warrant a second contract. Will Patrick Jones II thrive under the guidance of Brian Flores? And was Andre Carter II worth the undrafted free-agent investment?
Overall, the Vikings’ edge rusher group has some promising pieces but also some uncertainties. It’ll be interesting to see how this group develops over the course of the season. The Vikings need to make sure that they can keep their top-tier pass rusher, Danielle Hunter, and develop the rest of the group to be a dominant force in the league.
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