Minnesota’s high-profile pass rush took a blow Wednesday.
The Vikings announced that Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter will start the season on injured reserve. That means he’ll miss at least the first three games of the season.
ESPN’s Courtney Cronin reports that Hunter has a neck injury. The severity of the injury is unclear. Hunter hasn’t practiced since training camp started on Aug. 14.
Vikings added Yannick Ngakoue as Hunter sat
The Vikings traded for disgruntled former Jacksonville Jaguars Yannick Ngakoue on Aug. 30. Together, the pair would form one of the league’s most imposing pass-rushing tandems. Given the length of Hunter’s absence, the Vikings likely anticipated that Hunter would miss playing time when they made the deal.
Hunter, 25, has made the Pro Bowl in each of the past two seasons, both of which saw him tally 14.5 sacks. He also totaled 41 quarterback hits and 36 tackles for loss over that time. Ngakoue, 25, has tallied 37.5 sacks, 85 QB hits and 42 tackles for loss in his four-year NFL career, making the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
The Vikings allowed 10-year veteran Everson Griffen to walk in the offseason and he signed with the Dallas Cowboys last month. Griffen is coming off his fourth career Pro Bowl.
Hunter will miss games against the Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans. The earliest he can return will be Oct. 4 against the Houston Texans.
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