Bleacher Report Has Yucky Danielle Hunter Trade Theory

Sack Master
Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) following the game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

Ask most Minnesota Vikings fans which teams they like the least, and the list will entail the three NFC North teams — and then the New Orleans Saints.

The Vikings and Saints have shared bad blood for 14 years, with no signs of stopping in the immediate future.

Bleacher Report Has Yucky Danielle Hunter Trade Theory

So when Bleacher Report spitballed a Danielle Hunter trade to those very Saints this week, well, the idea became rather undesirable.

Hunter held out of Vikings mandatory minicamp this week, seeking a contract extension as his ‘team-friendly’ deal signed in 2018 nears expiration. The Pro Bowler should fetch north of $20 million via his next contract, and if Minnesota isn’t enthused about investing that cash in a soon-to-be 29-year-old, Hunter could be traded.

Report Has Yucky
Dec 15, 2019; Carson, CA, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) pressures Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) during the first quarter at Dignity Health Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports.

Left up to Bleacher Report‘s Maurice Moton, that trade would involve Hunter to New Orleans for a 2024 2nd-Round pick and DE Payton Turner. Moton theorized five big NFL trades this summer, and Hunter-to-Saints was the latest and greatest suggestion at the bottom of the list.

“Though Hunter has proved he’s worth a big-money deal with at least 10.5 sacks in three of the last four seasons, he may not get a lucrative extension offer from the current Vikings’ front office. Though this move would hurt the Vikings defense in the short term, the club may continue to move on from veterans close to or older than 30 years old — in this case for an early-round pick and a younger player. Hunter will turn 29 years old in October,” Moton opined.

Danielle Hunter Is
Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) looks on before the game against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Hunter ranked as the NFL’s seventh-best pass rusher last season, according to Pro Football Focus, and the defender remained totally healthy for the first time since 2019. He also acclimated to a 3-4 defense for the first time in his career.

Moton continued, “The Saints need an edge-rusher to complement Jordan, who’s going into his age-34 term. Ironically, they let Marcus Davenport walk in free agency, and he signed with the Vikings. Turner has a ton of upside, but he’s only suited up for 13 games in two seasons because of injuries. As a rookie second-rounder, Isaiah Foskey is an unknown commodity. Typically, defensive players don’t move the needle in division races, but with the addition of Hunter, New Orleans could field one of the league’s stingiest defenses and a balanced roster.”

Vikings EDGE Rusher Needs Season of Dominance to Reestablish Reputation
Nov 4, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) returns a fumble for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

The 2nd-Rounder from Moton’s proposed trade is enticing, as the Vikings may be in the market for a future QB1 during the 2024 NFL Draft. In theory, that pick could be used to move up the draft board next April.

On the other hand, Turner is a humongous maybe as a starting-caliber EDGE rusher. He certainly has the draft stock to blossom — he was a 1st-Rounder in the 2021 NFL Draft — but Turner has never started an NFL game and has logged just three sacks on the whole in 13 non-starts. He graded a 69.6 from PFF in 2022.

Other popular trade destinations — if the Vikings trade Hunter at all — include the Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets, and Seattle Seahawks.

The Vikings defense ranked 30th in points allowed last year.

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).

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