Chance of Danielle Hunter returning this season not looking good

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Danielle Hunter
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Danielle Hunter /

The Minnesota Vikings defensive end is now getting a second opinion on his neck injury.

When Danielle Hunter started to pile up the absences from the Minnesota Vikings training camp this summer, everyone was made to believe that he was being kept out for what Mike Zimmer referred to as a “little tweak.”

Then for this non-worrisome injury, the Vikings decided to place Hunter on their injured reserve list to begin the season. Still, Minnesota continued to make their optimism about their top pass rusher’s so-called minor ailment known to the rest of the football world.

Fast forward to now and Hunter is actually eligible to come off of injured reserve because he has sat out the required three games. But he won’t be suiting up for the Vikings this weekend and currently, he’s not even in the state of Minnesota.

Minnesota Vikings defensive end getting a second opinion on his injury

When meeting with reporters on Friday, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer revealed that Hunter is in New York City to get a second opinion on his “little tweak”.

Zimmer wouldn’t confirm that the defensive end is currently dealing with a neck injury, but ESPN’s Courtney Cronin reported on Friday that it is a cervical spine disc herniation that is keeping Hunter off of the field. Cronin also mentioned that her sources originally told her that Minnesota has been anticipating the young pass rusher to miss the first six to eight weeks of the season.

Listen, if Hunter is flying to another state to get a second opinion on his neck injury, it’s probably not a good sign that he’ll be returning to play for the Vikings anytime soon. It’s actually getting to the point now where Minnesota might be better off sitting him out for the rest of the year.

If the Vikings lose to the Houston Texans on Sunday and fall to 0-4, Minnesota’s chances of making the playoffs this season are pretty much impossible. So if this happens, there is no reason for the Vikings top pass rusher to return and risk further injury during a year in which his team has no shot at winning a championship.

Hunter is still only 25-years-old and he probably still has a lot of time left in his NFL career before he decides to hang it up. So Minnesota risking his potential Hall-of-Fame career just so he can play in a few meaningless games doesn’t seem like the greatest decision to make.

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Honestly, Hunter returning to the field even if the Vikings win on Sunday probably isn’t worth it either. Minnesota has invested a lot of time and money into their top defensive end and ruining his future with the franchise to possibly sneak into the playoffs this year isn’t something they should be risking.

(Update: According to the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson, the doctors Danielle Hunter met with in New York reccommended he sit out for the rest of the 2020 season.)