Updates on Danielle Hunter Are a “Win-Win” for Both Player and Team

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.

On Tuesday, as veteran players reported to Vikings training camp, head coach Kevin O’Connell took the podium to discuss some the recent news regarding the team.

One topic of discussion involved the ongoing contract situation regarding edge-rusher Danielle Hunter. O’Connell announced during the presser that the three-time Pro Bowler has, in fact, reported to camp on Tuesday. However, he is not expected to be a full participant in practice, particularly early on.

This is commonly known as a “hold in”, and it is different from the typical “hold out” because, rather than being away from the team facilities entirely, Hunter is showing up to practice every day. He just isn’t participating in the on-field workouts at this point.

Updates on Danielle Hunter Are a 'Win-Win' for Both Player and Team
Oct 10, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) celebrates a sack of Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (not pictured) during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

While no one wants to see a key part of an NFL defense on the sidelines during training camp rather than on the practice field, it should be considered a win-win for both the player and team at this point, keeping in mind where the two sides stood just a couple short months ago.

Simply put, the fact that Hunter is in the building is a far better scenario for both sides than if he was away from the team entirely. Now that he is in the building, it is much easier to have in-person conversations with both the coaching staff and front office than it would otherwise be, especially during a time as hectic as the beginning of training camp.

It is a huge benefit to Hunter as well. Not only can he partake in these contract discussions, but if he were to participate in any portions of practice, he is able to get full attention from the training staff if he were to go through any bumps and bruises along the way. It also ensures that the defender doesn’t incur any more fines, like he did when he sat out mandatory minicamp this spring.

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 is set to make just $5.5 million in total cash this year, a total that is far lower than many of the top pass-rushing talents in today’s NFL. Hunter wants a lucrative extension, but the Vikings have to weigh whether or not they want to commit themselves to Hunter for the long-term, given the fact that he played just seven games over the course of the 2020 and 2021 seasons because of injury troubles.

That is, admittedly, a difficult decision that must be made by Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and the rest of the front office. Hunter’s talent is undeniable when healthy, and he showed that during the 2022 season, leading the Vikings with 10.5 sacks. That being said, the NFL is a fickle world where another injury can always be right around the corner. The Vikings run the risk for such an injury with anyone that they sign to another contract, though.

Hopefully, a resolution can be agreed upon, and we see No. 99 back on the field sooner rather than later. The Vikings will take the practice field for the first time on Wednesday.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.