Vikings Rumors: Danielle Hunter could be out Sunday vs. the Packers

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) Danielle Hunter
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) Danielle Hunter /

The Minnesota Vikings could be without their top pass rusher in Week 1.

For the last few weeks, the reports coming out of the Minnesota Vikings training camp surrounding the status of defensive end Danielle Hunter have been fairly optimistic.

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has referred to the injury that has kept Hunter out of practice as a, “little tweak,” and most have assumed that the talented pass rusher will be ready to take the field for the team’s regular-season opener on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.

On Wednesday, however, that optimism took a bit of hit. Especially following a report from NFL insiders that has put Hunter’s status for Sunday in doubt.

Vikings Rumors: Will Danielle Hunter suit up against the Packers?

Minnesota linebacker Eric Kendricks kicked off Wednesday’s speculation when he told the local Twin Cities media, “it’s going to be hard to replace a guy like that,” which appeared to be an indication that the team has already been preparing for Hunter to miss Sunday’s game against Green Bay.

Shortly after Kendricks spoke, it was revealed that Hunter’s status for this week’s matchup with the Packers is, “very much in doubt,” according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

Remember that optimism we mentioned earlier? Yeah, that doesn’t seem to exist anymore with the latest reports to come out of Minnesota on Wednesday.

Luckily, the Vikings were recently able to add a very talented defensive end to their roster in Yannick Ngakoue. Looking back, now it seems like Minnesota traded for Ngakoue to make sure they had at least one premier pass rusher to begin the upcoming season if Hunter needed to miss time.

Since joining the Vikings in 2015, Hunter has never missed a game due to injury. Last week, Pelissero reported that the Minnesota defensive end is not, “expected to miss extended time,” due to whatever injury he’s been dealing with.

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Also, if Hunter’s injury were perceived to be serious, he likely would have started the season on injured reserve or the PUP list. So let’s keep these things in mind just in case the Vikings defensive end doesn’t suit up on Sunday against the Packers.

*(Update: Minnesota has placed Hunter on IR and he will miss the team’s first three games of the 2020 season. He is reportedly dealing with a neck injury.)