At (just barely) 21 years old, defensive end Danielle Hunter is the youngest player in the NFL. A common word to describe him coming into the league was “raw.” And while that may have been true, Hunter is rapidly overcoming that label and demonstrating that he can play a big role in the Vikings defense. The Daily Norseman‘s Andrew Renschen said it well Sunday:
Danielle Hunter evolving from project to player right before our eyes.
— Andrew Renschen (@InfraRen) November 22, 2015
Minnesota drafted Hunter No. 88 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. The LSU alum had fairly limited football experience (two years high school + three years college), but general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer felt strongly on his character and maturity level when they brought him in.
“[Hunter’s] a physical specimen,” Spielman said after drafting him. “He plays extremely hard […] he’s raw. He’s a project. We’ll have to work with him […] but we feel that he has tremendous upside to grow as a football player.”
Upside is right. While it may not have been written into the blueprints to give Hunter so much playing time this season, the defensive end has gotten more than a few snaps under his belt and is showing exactly the potential Spielman spoke of.