6 most disappointing Vikings from the 2023 NFL season

Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison
Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages
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2nd-most disappointing Viking of 2023

Marcus Davenport - EDGE

One of the biggest storylines last offseason was Za’Darius Smith’s contract situation. Smith wanted a raise after outperforming his contract in 2022, but the Vikings balked as they worked through salary cap restraints to improve their team for 2023.

Minnesota ultimately traded Smith to the Cleveland Browns and replaced him by signing Marcus Davenport to a one-year, $13 million contract in free agency.

The idea to pivot to Davenport was risky as he logged just a half-sack but a 12 percent pressure rate with the New Orleans Saints in 2022. While the idea may have been good in theory, Davenport’s Vikings tenure didn’t go as planned as one of their biggest free agent busts of the offseason.

Davenport was banged up in training camp and dealt with an ankle injury throughout the early weeks of the season.

Although he suited up for a Week 2 game with the Philadelphia Eagles, he only played four snaps before leaving. Davenport returned in Week 4 and recorded a sack in back-to-back games against Carolina and Kansas City but aggravated the injury against the Chicago Bears in Week 6 and was never seen again.

Some questioned Davenport’s desire to be on the field, but it was a tough injury in a season full of them. While Davenport was effective when he was on the field, he had too many injuries to stay on it, and it left the Vikings with a massive hole across from Danielle Hunter.