We’re only three weeks into the regular season, and the Minnesota Vikings are on high alert after a surprising 0-2 start. Despite the rocky start, the Vikings are doing everything in their power to prevent the season from slipping away prematurely.
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah kicked off the week by signing offensive guard Dalton Risner to a one-year, $4 million deal and subsequently traded for Rams running back Cam Akers. Kevin O’Connell stressed the importance of accepting that the Vikings' turnovers weren’t simply the result of bad luck, stating: “We cannot seek comfort in using (the turnover margin) as an excuse. We have to find the way to acknowledge what has happened as our reality. That’s the honest truth.” Players are eager to get a win, with Josh Metellus stating: “We’re all just hungry to go back out there and redeem ourselves.”
It appears that everyone in the organization from the front office, to the coaching staff, along with the players are extremely motivated to do everything in their power to make an impact and help this team remain competitive in the NFC North... Except for Marcus Davenport, who gave a lackadaisical locker room interview and didn’t show the same level of urgency or professionalism as the rest of the team.
Here is LB Marcus Davenport yesterday on where things stand with his ankle injury. Seemed there was a little optimism days ago, but he wasn't spotted again today on the practice field. Will be nice to see him for an extended stretch when the ankle eventually allows. #Vikings pic.twitter.com/u2g6oxNIcF— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) September 22, 2023
When KSTP’s Darren Wolfson asked Davenport about his ankle injury, he said that he’s been making progress and that it’s a “day-to-day” thing despite only playing four snaps through the first two weeks of the regular season. Then he made this odd facial expression and let out a casual sigh mid-interview.
He was also super vague about the supposed “progress” he’s been making and refused to elaborate on how he felt compared to last week. As a key player on the defense, I was expecting him to talk about how he’s focused on helping the team win in any way possible, even on the sidelines by giving advice and being a leader or a mentor to guys like Patrick Jones and D.J. Wonnum. Instead, he didn’t seem too concerned about the current state of the team after an 0-2 start.
Hours after the interview, Davenport was ruled out for this Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Let me make myself clear, the problem has very little to do with Marcus Davenport missing games. Injuries are unpredictable, and it’s something every player has to deal with at some point. I’m not gonna hold that against him.
The issue I have with this interview is how he composed himself. Marcus Davenport signed a one-year, $13 million deal with $10 million in guaranteed money and is one of the highest-paid players on the team. Davenport was brought in to replace Pro-Bowl edge rusher Za’Darius Smith, who was a pillar of the Vikings defense last season and arguably one of our best players.
There is a certain level of expectation and responsibility that comes along with being the successor to one of the leaders of last year’s defense, especially when Davenport is making the kind of money he does. This isn’t like New Orleans, where Marcus was on a rookie contract learning from and playing alongside an established veteran in Cameron Jordan. Davenport is 27 years old and is entering his 6th year in the league. He is a veteran making an eight-figure salary, yet he still acts like a rookie. That’s the problem.
I’m really hoping Davenport is able to play against the Carolina Panthers, otherwise it’ll look very bad for Kwesi from a roster management standpoint. Should Marcus miss the Panthers game, it will have been four weeks without Davenport on the field playing a significant amount of snaps. I’m not gonna count the four snaps he played against the Eagles. The fact of the matter is, if the Vikings knew this was a lingering ankle injury then they should’ve freed up a roster spot by putting him on IR and having him miss the first four games of the season.
Either way, this isn’t a good look for Marcus Davenport. I’ll close this out with JJ Watt’s famous post-game presser where he went on a rant about players not caring or putting in effort, because I think it applies here.