7:47pm: The Pro Bowl defensive end completed a medical checkup at the Vikings’ facility Monday, per the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling (on Twitter), clearing the way for participation at the team’s minicamp.
11:40am: Danielle Hunter will join the Vikings for the start of mandatory minicamp (Twitter link via James Jones of NTAF). Hunter has been hoping for a new deal, but it sounds like he’ll be a good sport and dodge the potential fines for skipping.
Last year, we heard that Hunter would demand a trade if the Vikings didn’t give him a fresh contract. It’s not clear where things stand, but the defensive end wouldn’t necessarily be negotiating from a position of strength. Hunter had 14.5 sacks in both 2018 and 2019. But, last year, he didn’t play at all due to a herniated disk in his neck. At last check, GM Rick Spielman said his rehab was going well and expected him to be on track for the start of the season.
Before the injury, Hunter graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 7-ranked edge rusher in the league, ahead of Cameron Jordan, Myles Garrett, Demarcus Lawrence, and a host of other big names. As it stands, the Vikings have him locked up through 2023, thanks to the five-year, $72MM extension he inked a few years back.
That deal gives him $12.15MM in base salary for each of the next three years, plus ~$14MM in potential bonuses. Hunter’s an elite pass rusher when he’s healthy, so he wants a better deal to match.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.