The Minnesota Vikings recently added a Pro Bowl pass rusher in Yannick Ngakoue. They will be without another Pro Bowl pass rusher for at least three weeks.
Following NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Tom Pelissero report that Danielle Hunter's status for Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers was very much in doubt due to an unspecified injury, the Minnesota Vikings announced they had placed Hunter on injured reserve.
It is not believed to be a long-term injury and is likely a back or neck injury, Rapoport reported.
Hunter did not practice on Wednesday and no reason was given to his placement on IR.
The back-to-back Pro Bowl pass rusher missed most of training camp due to an undisclosed injury. Coach Mike Zimmer had been mum on the extent of Hunter's injury, saying Monday "we'll just have to see" if the defensive end plays. Zimmer has consistently downplayed the injury as a minor tweak.
Linebacker Eric Kendricks indicated his teammates were expecting to take on a division rival without the star pass rusher and proved prophetic.
"It's going to be hard to replace a guy like that but we have guys who are hungry and want to step up too," Kendricks said Wednesday, via Matt Coller of 1500 ESPN.
The 25-year-old is coming off back-to-back 14.5-sack seasons and had one QB takedown in each game against the Packers last year. With Green Bay still trying to sort out their right tackle situation, Hunter missing the season opener is welcomed news for Aaron Rodgers.
Hunter's injury underscores the importance of Minnesota acquiring Ngakoue before the season starts.