Vikings’ Danielle Hunter to undergo season-ending neck surgery

Oct. 22 (UPI) — Minnesota Vikings star defensive end Danielle Hunter will have neck surgery and miss the remainder of the 2020 season.

League sources told ESPN and NFL Media on Thursday that Hunter will undergo the procedure to repair a herniated disc in his neck. The operation will force the Pro Bowl defensive lineman — who has yet to appear in a game in 2020 — to miss all of the season.

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer initially described Hunter’s injury as a “tweak.” According to ESPN, the pass-rusher was expected to miss only about six to eight weeks. Hunter last practiced on Aug. 14, the Vikings’ first day of practice during training camp.

The Vikings have yet to publicly acknowledge Hunter’s season-ending surgery. According to ESPN, the defensive lineman traveled to New York to receive a second opinion on his neck ailment. Zimmer said that visit didn’t reveal any further clarity about the injury.

“[He’s] still kind of mulling his options, I think,” Zimmer said Oct. 14.

Hunter has notched 54.5 sacks through five NFL seasons and has earned back-to-back Pro Bowl honors. He was the fastest player in league history to reach 50 career sacks.

News of Hunter’s procedure came shortly after the Vikings traded former Pro Bowl defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to the Baltimore Ravens, leaving Minnesota without two of its top pass-rushers.

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