Vikings Star Pass Rusher Is Creating Discourse

Vikings Have Bittersweet Anniversary on Thursday
Dec 15, 2019; Carson, CA, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunte. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings story of the weekend, what’s happening with Vikings star pass rusher Danielle Hunter?

For weeks now, the Vikings have been in discussions with Hunter. He has been the story of the Vikings’ offseason discussions. Even more so now that the Kirk Cousins deal is in the books.

So what’s the deal? What do the Vikings have planned?

At first, it seemed like a no-brainer to convert his roster bonus into a signing bonus. However, the Vikings have, to this point, avoided doing that. Sunday was the deadline before the roster bonus became fully guaranteed. Although, there was quite a bit of confusion over the weekend about what exactly “fully guaranteed” means in this context.

Sam Darnold & Danielle Hunter
Oct 21, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) scrambles from Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Goessling reported that the team could still exercise their right to convert the roster bonus. However, Jason Fitzgerald from OvertheCap disagreed with Goessling’s understanding. Do the Vikings still have the ability to convert the money and lower Danielle Hunter’s $26 million salary-cap hit in 2022?

The short answer is — yes, they can.

How Does Danielle Hunter’s Contract Work

Ok, so I will try to explain this to the best of my ability based on what I have read from real experts.

  1. The roster bonus became fully guaranteed on Sunday
  2. Fully Guaranteed does not mean that Hunter received a check
  3. Hunter still needs to report to camp on time to receive the first $6 million
  4. Vikings can convert the roster bonus to signing bonus any time until the money is actually paid.

Based on this information, the Vikings have time to decide if they want to convert the money or not. It seems likely that will do so as a last resort. The reasoning is that the signing bonus can be spread out into future years, but the roster bonus cannot. Thereby reducing his $26 million salary-cap hit into something more manageable.

The only question that remains is what will the Vikings actually do, and when will they do it?

What Will the Vikings do with the Star Pass Rusher Now?

It doesn’t seem like anyone really has any idea what the Vikings are planning for Hunter. Although, it is becoming more likely that he will be on the roster in 2022. However, there are reports that several teams are interested in trading for him as well. Jeremy Fowler tweeted:

With several teams interested, one would think that if the Vikings had an offer that they liked, they would have pulled the trigger. This likely means that Vikings have a high threshold of what they are willing to accept in a trade to move on from Hunter. And they absolutely should have a high ceiling because he is by far the best pass rusher they have.

Although, interestingly enough, Jourdan Rodrigue, LA Rams reporter for The Athletic, says the Rams are one of the teams looking:

Unless a team like the Rams comes in with a big offer to trade for Danielle Hunter, don’t expect the Vikings to take it. The Vikings have no intention of Hunter being a salary cap causality. They still have time to convert the money into a signing bonus to save cap this year.

However, look for the Vikings to work out a long-term deal to tie the defensive star to the team for the next five years.