The Vikings started the year 1-5, which pushed them into sell-mode by trading pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue to the Ravens earlier today. But Minnesota could soon be trekking to Tank City.
That’s because Danielle Hunter, the team’s other fearsome quarterback-sacker, is about to be shut down:
#Vikings star Danielle Hunter is having surgery to clean up a herniated disc, knocking him out for 2020, per me & @TomPelissero. MIN has a decision this offseason: Make Hunter the highest-paid defender in football or trade him. Have we seen the last of him in a Vikings uniform👀
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 22, 2020
What was once considered a tweak by the Vikings is now a full-blown serious injury. One that needs surgical repair and will cost Hunter the season. Further complicating matters is Hunter’s contractual future with the team. Because while he is under team control through 2023, Minnesota is a team pressed up against the cap. And even though aiming for a pay raise after back surgery is a challenge, Hunter’s 54.5 sacks in five seasons suggests he is worthy of a pay raise. Or perhaps even a restructured deal. Then again, the Vikings are projected to be more than $14 million over the cap next year. So good luck fitting that deal in the books.
What was once viewed as a promising run for the Vikings is looking like a window that is shutting quickly. Their pass-rush is decimated. Cornerbacks have been torched at every turn. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has an astronomical cap number. Supporting stars Harrison Smith and Adam Thielen are on the other side of 30. All things considered, the Vikings might be wise to turn their attention to 2021 and beyond. And if they lose a pair of games to the Bears in 2020, then so be it. 😉