The last year or so has been a crazy ride for Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter. It was nearly 10 months that the 26-year-old underwent neck surgery, forcing him to miss the entire 2020 NFL season. Fast forward to 2021 where Hunter has a newly restructured contract and is feeling pretty good about his recovery.
The Vikings got great news on Friday regarding Hunter's latest injury update. According to ESPN's Courtney Cronin, the defensive end is feeling "100%" as the new season approaches. However, he plans on taking things slowly.
Danielle Hunter Injury Update
When Hunter missed the Vikings OTAs, some people thought that it was due to his contract dispute. However, Cronin reported that it was actually because getting healthy was his main focus. Now, as time passes, Hunter said he's going to be patient getting back into game shape.
"Essentially just going out there and building back from the fundamentals that you need in order to play football. That’s how it’s going to be for everybody -- it’s not just me. But I’m going to take my time and just focus in and lock in on the all things that I used to do and continue to build off that."- Danielle Hunter, Vikings DE
The truth is that the Vikings will need Hunter to be at the top of his game because of how important he is to their defense. Without him last season, Minnesota 29.7 points per game — ranking 29th in that category. Considering how the Vikings only allowed 19.4 PPG (6th) in 2019 with a healthy Hunter, it's a pretty stark difference. The two-time Pro-Bowler recorded 70 total tackles, 14.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles in the 2019 NFL season, along with receiving first-team All-Pro honors.
The Vikings currently have the 18th-best odds to win the Super Bowl at +4000, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. With how those imply that the Vikings aren't championship contenders just yet, Hunter and the revamped Minnesota defense must have an amazing season to change critics' minds.
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