Vikings Make 3 Roster Moves, Including Placing Defensive Starter on IR

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers
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The Minnesota Vikings have been dealing with a few different injuries over the course of the 2023 season.

Most notably, of course, is Justin Jefferson’s hamstring injury that landed him on IR following Minnesota’s Week 5 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

However, injuries struck again in Week 6 against the Chicago Bears, and as a result, the Vikings made 3 roster moves on Wednesday morning, including the placement of starting OLB Marcus Davenport on IR.

Vikings Make 3 Roster Moves

3 Roster Moves
Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Marcus Davenport (0) pressures Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings tweeted out the roster moves earlier this morning. Injured reserve has been a rumored destination since early in the week following a report that he had suffered a high ankle sprain against Chicago. Kevin O’Connell stated after the game that this is not the same ankle that hindered him throughout the first three weeks of the season.

In two games prior to the sprain, Davenport had helped rejuvenate the Vikings pass-rush by recording 7 tackles and 2 sacks. Now, the Vikings are back to square one, hoping that D.J. Wonnum and Pat Jones can fill the void.

However, while Davenport’s injury starts Week 7 off on a bad note for Minnesota, they also gave out some positive injury news on Wednesday.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Nov 17, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (92) works out prior to the game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings have activated RB Kene Nwangwu from IR after he missed the first six games of the season with what was described as a back injury on the Week 6 injury reports. The explosive kick returner was finally able to return to practice last week, but he did not play against the Bears.

Now, though, it seems that he could return for Monday night’s matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. Nwangwu was one of the best kick returners in the league throughout his first two NFL seasons since being drafted in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Nwangwu returned 53 kicks for 1499 yards and 3 TDs, averaging 28.3 yards per return. During the 2022 season, he was named a second-team All-Pro at the position. To this point in 2023, it has been Ty Chandler taking reps at the position. He has returned just three kicks for a total of 70 yards.

Kick Returns
Aug 27, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Kene Nwangwu (26) during the second half against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, Minnesota also designated WR Jalen Nailor to return to practice, who has been on IR since the conclusion of Week 2. He is yet to play a snap at wide receiver this season, but with the waiving of Trishton Jackson on Tuesday, perhaps there is a chance he gets his first chance with the offense in the near future.

Nailor was selected by the Vikings in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. During his rookie season, the Michigan State product caught nine passes for 179 yards and a touchdown.

Minnesota won’t release their first injury report until Thursday since their Week 7 matchup against San Francisco takes place on Monday night. That will likely provide a clearer picture in terms of the plan for both Nailor and Nwangwu this week.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.