Vikings' Danielle Hunter Suffers Season-ending Injury

After a disappointing loss in prime-time to the Dallas Cowboys on Halloween night, the Vikings' worst fears were realized Monday with a season-ending injury to their star DE Danielle Hunter being reported. The injury was initially sustained during the second-quarter of the Vikings' 20-16 loss to Dallas and despite Hunter being listed as questionable to return, he was quickly downgraded after halftime and never returned to the sidelines. 

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Hunter was apparently set to have an MRI today to get a full diagnosis of a potential pectoral tear. This afternoon, Rapoport followed this news with a confirmation from Head Coach Mike Zimmer. Hunter will now undoubtedly be sent to IR and it will be the second straight year he has suffered a season-ending injury after he missed the 2020 campaign due to a herniated disc in his neck. 

This season Hunter has been extremely productive through the first 7 games recording 38 tackles and 6 sacks, placing him clearly on pace for what would be his fourth season of double digit sacks. While it is extremely disappointing to lose the star defensive lineman for significant time, however it leaves the Vikings with an interesting dilemma. 

Hunter only missed a pair of games before 2020, but his recent injury battles may make the Vikings deliberate what would otherwise be an obvious decision to keep him on their roster for the foreseeable future. The Vikings owe nearly $20 million dollars as a roster bonus to Hunter at the beginning of the 2022 league year and the team could save nearly $15 million in cap space by cutting the 2 time pro-bowler. 

Regardless of long-term discussions however, losing Hunter this season is devastating for the Vikings and Zimmer and his production will be extremely hard to replace. 

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