Vikings Trying To Re-Sign OLB Danielle Hunter

The Vikings have a lot of different priorities to focus on this offseason with both quarterback Kirk Cousins and wide receiver Justin Jefferson hoping for new contracts, but that hasn’t stopped them from discussing another possible deal that they’d like to see done. According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, Minnesota is making an effort to re-sign veteran pass rusher Danielle Hunter, as well.

Hunter has been a Viking since the team selected him in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Heading into the final year of his rookie contract, the Vikings signed him to a five-year, $72 million extension. When that extension expired, Minnesota opted to keep him around for at least one more season on a one-year, $17MM deal. Having once more played through his contract, Hunter’s future with the Vikings will again be in question.

Hunter is expected to be a top target for many teams if he’s allowed to reach free agency, and for good reason. In his nine-year career, Hunter has reached double-digit sack numbers in five different seasons. He was twice racked up 14.5 sacks and reached a career-high this year with an impressive 16.5. His disruptive nature doesn’t stop there, though, as he led the NFL this season with a career-high 23 tackles for loss, as well.

The only potential detriment to Hunter’s negotiating stance is his past health issues. Hunter missed the entire 2020 NFL season with a neck injury and followed that up with only seven games in 2021. Now, the 2021 injury was completely unrelated to his prior season-long absence. In fact, when Hunter returned to the field after missing the 2020 season, he was off to a blazing start, racking up six sacks in only seven games. A torn pectoral muscle would put an end to that comeback campaign and force him back to injured reserve.

Since coming back from his second stay on IR, Hunter has shown no ill effects from his prior injuries. In the two seasons since, Hunter has started every game possible, accumulating 27.0 total sacks, 35 tackles for loss, and 44 quarterback hits. Not only have his injuries not slowed him down, he seems to have gotten better.

With Hunter showing no signs of stopping as he gets closer to 30 years old, he’s expected to fetch quite a price tag in free agency. As perhaps the top pass rusher on the market, multiple teams are expected to vie for his signature. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler volunteers that a price tag north of $20MM per year should be expected. The Vikings will need to focus a lot of efforts towards Cousins and Jefferson, but make no mistake, lots of attention and capital will need to be directed in Hunter’s direction, as well, if they have any hopes of retaining his talents.

View Comments (3)