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Minnesota Vikings place star DE Danielle Hunter on injured reserve

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) was placed on IR with a neck injury. He hasn't practiced since Aug. 14. File Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI
Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) was placed on IR with a neck injury. He hasn't practiced since Aug. 14. File Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 9 (UPI) -- The Minnesota Vikings placed Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter on injured reserve, the team announced Wednesday.

The Vikings didn't disclose the injury that is forcing Hunter to begin the season on IR, where he must remain for at least three weeks. According to ESPN, the star pass rusher has been dealing with a neck injury over the past month.

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Hunter hasn't practiced with the team since Aug. 14. He has been sidelined for almost four weeks with what Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer called a "tweak."

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Jalyn Holmes and Eddie Yarbrough took reps at left defensive end throughout training camp while Hunter was out, but the Vikings could decide to start Ifeadi Odenigbo in place of Hunter against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Odenigbo played on the right side of the defensive line throughout camp and appeared to be the starter until the Vikings traded for ex-Jacksonville Jaguars star edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue on Aug. 30.

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"There's going to be a lot of in-game adjustments that we have to go through and things like that, but we have trust in our guys," Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks said Wednesday. "A guy like Danielle, he brings a whole other type of game in and it's going to be hard to replace a guy like that. But we have guys who are hungry and want to step up, too."

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In 16 regular-season games in 2019, Hunter notched 70 total tackles, 14.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. In December, the two-time Pro Bowler became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 50 career sacks -- at age 25.

Hunter can return to practice as early as Sept. 28. He will be eligible to play Oct. 4 against the Houston Texans.

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