Two-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Danielle Hunter is out for the season after suffering a torn pectoral muscle during Sunday night's 17-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, coach Mike Zimmer announced Monday. Hunter, who sustained the injury during the first half, underwent an MRI on Monday after missing the remainder of the game. It was initially feared that Hunter had sustained a shoulder injury.
Hunter was off to a strong start this season after missing the entire 2020 season with a neck injury. The 27-year-old is currently tied for 10th in the NFL with six sacks. He also has 38 tackles (six for loss) while serving as a mainstay in the Vikings' starting defense. Hunter played in 90% and 91% of Minnesota's defensive snaps in the Vikings' two games prior to Sunday night. He had not played in fewer than 83% of Minnesota's defensive snaps in any of the team's first six games.
D.J. Wonnum and rookie Patrick Jones II are in line to replace Hunter in the Vikings' starting lineup. A fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft, Wonnum has four career sacks in 21 career regular-season games. He had his first sack of the 2021 season during the Vikings' Week 4 loss to the Cleveland Browns. Jones, a third-round pick out of the University of Pittsburgh, recorded nine sacks 12.5 tackles for loss during his final season with the Panthers.
The loss to the Cowboys dropped the Vikings to 3-4 through seven games. They are currently 3.5 games behind the Green Bay Packers for first place in the NFC North.
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