The Minnesota Vikings placed star defensive end Danielle Hunter on IR Wednesday afternoon. Fans will now have to wait until at least Week 4 to see the pass rushing duo of Hunter and Yannick Ngakoue.
Instead, Ifeadi Odenigbo, will be the starter on the opposite end of Ngakoue. Odenigbo finished the 2019 season with seven sacks in a limited pass rushing role.
It should also be noted that Dom Capers has traditionally run a 3-4 style of defense and the Vikings have the perfect player to send off the edge in Anthony Barr.
The Vikings play the Green Bay Packers to open up their schedule at home for the first time in team history. Aaron Rodgers has traditionally played well against the Vikings and has the ability to make plays outside of the pocket. The loss of an athlete like Hunter will always hurt a defense, but this week it's even more important with how Rodgers can hurt teams with his legs.
The absence of Hunter could hurt the team in more ways than one, as the Vikings cornerbacks have limited playing time at the NFL level. The ability to create pressure with just four players would have been a luxury for the secondary, but it’s now likely the team will have to dial up some blitz packages against Rodgers.
The good news from this is that the Vikings will be able to bring Hunter back against the Houston Texans in Week 4 if he’s healthy. The three teams the Vikings are set to play without Hunter consist of the Packers, Colts and Titans.
Mike Zimmer is going to have to get creative with his defense over the next three weeks without having their star pass rusher involved. Odenigbo gets his chance to prove whether or not he’s ready to become a starting caliber edge rusher in the NFL.
For more updates on Hunter’s situation tune into KFAN 100.3 or KFAN.com.