NFL Doctor Gives Concerning Input on Danielle Hunter’s Nagging Injury: Report

Danielle Hunter

Getty Danielle Hunter faces an ultimatum with the Vikings after his contract restructure this week.

Vikings Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter was in New York City this week, seeking what coach Mike Zimmer told local media was a “second opinion.”

Hunter’s visit was to a hospital run by the Giants’ team doctor. He received a recommendation that had been circling in the minds of fans since he was placed on the injures reserve list — to forgo the 2020 season.

Hunter has been on the injured reserve list since the start of the season and did not participate in any team practices at training camp. He was eligible to return this week against the Texans but it appears the injury will stretch beyond the required time.

The Vikings have kept the details of Hunter’s injury behind closed doors. Zimmer, when asked Hunter had a neck injury, told Tomasson “I don’t know,” despite numerous public reports.

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Former NFL Doctor Speculates Surgery on the Horizon for Hunter

Tomasson sought a second opinion of his own regarding Hunter’s injury. He talked to a former NFL doctor who recommended, from afar, that Hunter undergo season-ending surgery on his neck.

With the information that’s been reported Dr. David Chao, who was the Chargers team doctor for 17 years, speculated that Hunter sitting out likely hasn’t improved his condition. This contradicts Zimmer who had said Hunter was “getting a little better every day” during training camp.

“The herniated disc isn’t the issue, it’s the effect on the nerve,” Chao, who has no direct knowledge of Hunter’s case, told Tomasson Friday afternoon. “The fact that he’s rested for this (period) and now getting a second opinion is likely indicative that things haven’t gotten markedly better and the potential for surgery is probably on the table.”

Sure enough, Chao was on the right track as Tomasson’s source leaked that Hunter was indeed recommended to not play again this year while surgery could now be on the table.

Chao speculated that Hunter could return to play in three to four months after surgery, meaning if the Vikings, currently 0-3, were to make the playoffs and he receives an operation soon, the possibility of a playoff appearance remains a possibility, however improbable it may be.

Vikings Pass Rush 1-Dimensional Without Hunter

In Hunter’s absence, the Vikings pass rush has struggled to pressure opposing quarterbacks.

Yannick Ngakoue, who was acquired in a trade with the Jaguars this offseason, has the team’s only two sacks through three weeks. Defensive end has been a position the Vikings have a reputation for developing stars, but no one has emerged alongside Ngakoue amid the defensive line struggles.

This is largely a symptom of the release of Linval Joseph and his replacement, Michael Pierce, opting out as the Vikings have no true nose tackle to wreak havoc on the interior.

Hunter would undoubtedly create concern for opposing offensive lines, and without his presence, the defensive line likely won’t reach any revelations any time soon.