Which pass rushers step up for the Vikings with Marcus Davenport out?

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The impact of Marcus Davenport has been apparent any time he has been on the field for the Vikings this season. The pass rush has had noticeably more juice when Davenport has been paired with Danielle Hunter off the edge. It’s exactly what the Vikings had in mind when they signed Davenport to a 1-year, $13 million contract this past offseason.

The biggest issue for Davenport has been staying healthy. He suffered an injury to his right ankle that forced him to miss a couple of games, then after working his way back to full strength, he suffered an injury to his left ankle that has landed him on injured reserve.

Though the Vikings have gotten incredible production from Hunter, who is tied for the NFL lead with 8.0 sacks, they need more from the other pass rushers on the team.

“I was really excited about that room, and I still am,” head coach Kevin O’Connell said. “Just our depth is going to be tested now.”

Here’s a tale of the tape for Vikings pass rushers not named Hunter or Davenport. That group will need to step up starting with the primetime game against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football.

D.J. Wonnum

Height: 6 feet, 5 inches

Weight: 260 pounds

Analysis: D.J. Wonnum will be thrust into a starting role opposite Hunter for the next month or so. To this point, Wonnum has a pair of sacks, a pair of pass deflections and a fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown. He appears to be better suited as a rotational pass rusher, which explains why he’s been way more productive when Hunter and Davenport have garnered most of the attention from opposing offensive lines. This is a good chance for Wonnum to prove himself as a viable option off the edge for the Vikings.

Pat Jones II

Height: 6 feet, 4 inches

Weight: 265 pounds

Analysis: Pat Jones II has flown under the radar for the most part. He hasn’t been very effective when asked to win a 1-on-1 matchup, which is evidenced by the fact that he doesn’t have a sack yet this season. That said, Jones has still managed to stand out on tape. Asked about the pass rush earlier this week, defensive coordinator Brian Flores praised Jones as somebody who has made a handful of plays that don’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet. Now the Vikings need Jones to make plays that do show up on the stat sheet.

Andre Carter II

Height: 6 feet, 6 inches

Weight: 255 pounds

Analysis: Andre Carter II was a highly coveted undrafted free agent this spring. That’s why the Vikings had to guarantee him $340,000 to get him to sign in Minnesota. As of right now, Carter is more of a project player, equipped with a decent amount of upside down the road. He has been inactive more often than not this season, playing just 17 snaps on defense. There should be more reps for Carter in the coming weeks, so it’ll be interesting to see what he does with undoubtedly the biggest opportunity of his career.

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