7 reasons why the Vikings shouldn’t panic about Danielle Hunter’s injury

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Danielle Hunter
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Danielle Hunter /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Mike Zimmer /

Zimmer is a defensive coach and injuries do not faze him

The Vikings lost linebacker Anthony Barr and former Minnesota linebacker Chad Greenway for four games apiece in 2014. But the Vikings finished 11th in total defense (points allowed) that season and this was Mike Zimmer’s first year as the team’s head coach.

In 2015, Minnesota defensive tackle Linval Joseph missed four contests while safety Harrison Smith did not play in three games. The Vikings defense still ended up as the fifth-best unit in the NFL.

In 2016, Minnesota cornerback Xavier Rhodes was absent for two games, so was Smith, yet again. Minnesota’s secondary went on to surrender the third-fewest passing yards in the league. As for points allowed, the Vikings allowed the sixth-fewest that season.

In Zimmer’s most prosperous campaign, 2017, Minnesota safety Andrew Sendejo was hurt for three matchups and his teammate, Mackensie Alexander, missed two games. The Vikings had one of their best defenses in team history that year and that bunch ranked No.1 in the business in terms of points allowed.

In 2018, Minnesota boasted the league’s ninth-best defense despite the fact that cornerback Mike Hughes (10), Everson Griffen (5), Barr (3), Trae Waynes (2), Rhodes (2), and linebacker Eric Kendricks (2) all missed at least two games.

Last year, Joseph was banged up for a large portion of the season, several players missed a matchup or two, and the Vikings cornerbacks generally played poorly. Minnesota ended up being the owners of the NFL’s fifth-best defense in 2019.

We. Do. This. Every. Year.

Players get hurt, it’s how football works. A Mike Zimmer defense has never wholly collapsed because, well, more on that next.