EAGAN, Minnesota – The Minnesota Vikings have put defensive end Danielle Hunter into the injured reserve, the team announced Wednesday.
A source told ESPN that Hunter has a neck injury.
Hunter has not trained since August 14, the team’s first official training session. The Pro Bowler was sidelined for nearly four weeks with what coach Mike Zimmer called an “adjustment”. He will not be listed in Wednesday’s injury report given the move to the injured reserve, where he will have to stay for at least three games.
Hunter didn’t train on Wednesday, but showed up dressed in the sweatshirt and shirt to perform rehab and stretching exercises as the team performed individual exercises.
Sources told ESPN last month that the Vikings kept Hunter out of practice for precautionary reasons, but they didn’t expect the defensive end to waste time. Minnesota traded with the Jacksonville Jaguars for Yannick Ngakoue on August 30 to start on the right defensive end in front of Hunter.
Jalyn Holmes and Eddie Yarbrough repeated during training camp on the left defensive end as Hunter was sidelined, but it is possible the Vikings decide to start Ifeadi Odenigbo instead of Hunter against the Green Bay Packers. Odenigbo played on the right defensive end all over the pitch and was ready to start there until the team traded for Ngakoue.
Ahead of Wednesday’s free practice, linebacker Eric Kendricks discussed the need for the defenders to step up in Hunter’s absence.
“There will be a lot of adjustments in the game that we have to deal with and things like that, but we have faith in our boys,” Kendricks said, “and yes, a guy like Danielle, brings a completely different kind of game and it will be hard to replace a guy like that. , but we have kids who are hungry and also want to take a step forward. “
Hunter earned 14.5 bags in both 2018 and 2019, which earned him consecutive Pro Bowl bids. Last December, he became the fastest player to hit 50.0 sack in his career at the age of 25.
He can return to training as early as September 28 and the first game he can play in will be on October 4 in Houston.
The Vikings also announced the protection of kicker Chase McLaughlin, who has been signed for the training team this week.