Danielle Hunter Labeled Free Agent Target for 2 AFC Teams

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When the Minnesota Vikings stumbled out of the gate in 2023 to the tune of a 1-4 record, many of the team’s fans and national media outlets speculated EDGE rusher Danielle Hunter could be traded in a “fire sale.”

Danielle Hunter Labeled Free Agent Target for 2 AFC Teams

Then the Vikings won five straight games — an ongoing streak — and any fire sale theories were as nonexistent as they were silly in the first place.

But Hunter-themed rumors didn’t cease altogether, as the offseason is just a couple of months away. Hunter’s contract will expire in mere months, and some believe he’ll be one of the hottest commodities on the open market.

Danielle Hunter Labeled
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The Pro Bowler told a gallery of reporters in July, “I want to be a Viking forever.” But mindsets could change if the Vikings don’t agree with his asking price in March, and if Hunter tests free agency, ESPN believes he could end up in the AFC.

ESPN’s Matt Bowen and Jeremy Fowler sized up the league’s Top 25 impending free agents this week, and Hunter checked in at No. 5, theorized as a target for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos. Fowler explained, “No one has helped their free agency profile more than Hunter, who is tracking for nearly 19 sacks on the season. Hunter will be 29 to start the 2024 season, paving the way for a lucrative three- or four-year deal at well above $20 million per season.”

Suggests Danielle Hunter
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Hunter actually leads the NFL through 10 weeks in sacks (11.0) and tackles for loss (14).

“Jacksonville has long been a fan of Hunter’s game, but Denver also could bolster its pass rush — the Broncos are typically unafraid to spend in March,” Fowler added.

Ranking the Vikings' Needs Prior to Free Agency
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It’s certainly possible that Hunter departs via free agency after nine faithful seasons with the Vikings, but if Minnesota said sayonara to the 29-year-old, it would begin the offseason with zero starting EDGE rushers. Hunter and his teammates, Marcus Davenport and D.J. Wonnum, are all free agents. Retaining Hunter and then finding one more starter seems like a wiser bet.

Bowen added about Hunter’s free agency, “Hunter has been highly productive this season, currently tied for a league-best 11 sacks. Plus, he has 31 pressures and three forced fumbles. With his long frame and great short-area speed, Hunter has the upper-level pass-rushing traits that NFL teams want on the edge.”

Sack Master
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If the Broncos become Hunter’s eventual new team, he’ll get a look at them this weekend on Sunday Night Football. Denver hosts Minnesota and is favored to win by 2.5 points.

Broncos general manager George Paton was coworkers with Hunter for six years in Minnesota.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.