The Vikings lack depth at the edge rusher position
While the production of Za'Darius Smith and Marcus Davenport will be linked throughout the 2023 season, it could also come down to whether the Vikings have enough depth to make up for Smith’s departure.
Davenport has a lengthy injury history and had never played in more than 13 games until he appeared in 15 last season. Even with more time on the field, Davenport never had consistent production and was eventually passed over when he hit free agency this spring.
With Draft Sharks projecting Davenport with an 88 percent chance to get injured this season, the Vikings may have to rely on some of their backups to carry the load.
That would be a big problem for the Vikings, as many of their edge rushers have failed to live up to expectations. Patrick Jones II was a third-round pick in the dubious 2021 draft class, while D.J. Wonnum hasn’t fulfilled Andre Patterson’s prophecy of being the next Danielle Hunter. UDFA Andre Carter II could also be a name to remember, but he projects as more of a project, as he looks to build upper body strength.
While Smith had his own laundry list of ailments, he was able to get on the field most weeks than not. If Davenport isn’t able to do the same, the Vikings’ pass rush could take a major hit next fall.