According to KSTP’s Darren Wolfson, the Minnesota Vikings are unlikely to re-sign prized free-agent signing Marcus Davenport next season.

Wolfson disclosed on SKOR North’s “Mackey & Judd” podcast on December 19 that the Vikings believed Davenport, who has only played two full games this season, will return from ankle surgery at some point this season. However, his “desire” to play while not fully recovered is still in doubt.

Davenport’s days in Minnesota appear to be limited after the Vikings signed him to a one-year, $13 million prove-it deal owing to his lack of contributions on the field this season.

“I don’t foresee any scenario where Marcus Davenport is back in purple next year, but it sure would be nice to have him on the field at some point these last three games,” Wolfson said, adding that Davenport has been out of a walking boot for almost two weeks. “I would have told you two weeks ago the Vikings thought he’d be back by now. They haven’t even announced they’re opening the [practice] window.”

Vikings’ Marcus Davenport’s Desire to Play in Question

Marcus Davenport

The 14th overall pick in 2018 by the New Orleans Saints, Davenport’s talent has never been a question. Since 2018, Davenport’s 17.8% pass-rush win rate and 13.9% pressure percentage are both top-20 marks among edge defenders, according to Pro Football Focus, which named him the top edge rusher free agent of 2023.

However, Davenport’s ability to stay on the field has been a concern, leading to the Saints deciding to not re-sign him last offseason. Davenport hadn’t surpassed 600 snaps once in his career, and he’s played just 118 snaps this season with the Vikings.

Durability is one thing, but Wolfson suggested that Davenport’s desire to play at any capacity below 100% health is questionable.

“Marcus Davenport, there has been optimism in the building going back weeks that he will be back,” Wolfson said. “He does have incentive to play. He gets paid these bonuses if he’s active, but there still is some desire questions there. … Ultimately, it’s the player. The player has to want it. There are questions about the player’s want there.”

Davenport’s contract includes $10 million in guarantees with an additional $2 million in per-game bonuses.

Danielle Hunter ‘Really Likes’ Minnesota, Vikings Should Make it Worth His While to Stay

Danielle Hunter

Wolfson has maintained that despite some scrutiny surrounding his perennial contract restructures and return from neck surgery, Hunter “really, really likes” his situation in Minnesota.

Hunter’s agent brokered a bad deal when he signed a five-year, $72 million contract that he outplayed immediately after entering his prime in 2018 and 2019. His agent has since remedied the deal with a series of contract restructures over the past few offseasons.

This offseason will be the final saga of Hunter’s contract drama when Minnesota decides whether to re-sign him to a new deal or allow him to walk in free agency.

Hunter could push a hard bargain, currently second in the NFL with 15.5 sacks this season as the definitive leader of the team’s defense. If a prospective team blows Hunter away with a contract he can’t refuse (upwards of $25 million a year) it will likely trump all of Hunter’s warm feelings for Minnesota.

But if the Vikings can get close to some of the offers he’ll garner in the offseason, Hunter could be inclined to stay at a slight discount.

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