For much of Training Camp, Minnesota Vikings’ star defensive lineman Danielle Hunter watched his teammates practice from the sidelines. Head coach Mike Zimmer deemed what Hunter was dealing with to be a “tweak,” so it didn’t seem like it was going to be anything that was going to keep Hunter out for the long term.
Well. . .guess what? It isn’t a “tweak.”
The Vikings have just announced that they have placed Hunter on injured reserve. The “tweak” in question apparently has something to do with a neck injury that he sustained at some point.
Now, lest we panic too hard, with this weird COVID-19 season and the rules that have been implemented as a part of it, going on IR means that Hunter can come back after three weeks rather than having to miss significantly more time than he would have had to in past seasons. However, that means he’s still going to be out for the season opener against Green Bay on Sunday, as well as the Week 2 and 3 matchups against Indianapolis and Tennessee. He will first be eligible to return when the Vikings face the Houston Texans in Week 4.
While we don’t have any official word yet, I would assume that Ifeadi Odenigbo will slot into Hunter’s spot at defensive end as the starter, and this does do quite a bit to explain why the Vikings rostered so many defensive linemen as a part of their final cuts.
This is a pretty significant blow for the Vikings, particularly with Aaron Rodgers coming to town and the Vikings needing to generate some pass rush in order to help a very young group of cornerbacks. The addition of Yannick Ngakoue will help in that regard, but still. . .this stinks.
We’ll have more on Hunter’s injury as the news rolls in about it.