Not So Fast on a Danielle Hunter Trade

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There are reasons indeed to contemplate a Danielle Hunter trade for the Minnesota Vikings front office, but such a transaction isn’t necessarily imminent.

Not So Fast on a Danielle Hunter Trade

The Hunter trade sweepstakes ignited Wednesday with one tweet from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, “Here is my understanding of where it stands. Sources say that teams have been calling the Minnesota Vikings regarding Danielle Hunter. He has in fact generated some trade interest.”

Fast on a Danielle
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And like that — Hunter became a member of the NFL’s trade rumor mill, at least in the eyes of the national media. The EDGE rusher is 28 years old, scheduled to earn just $5 million in ‘new money’ this year, and likely wants a new contract.

Trading Hunter doesn’t make too much sense as Minnesota hopes to rectify a defense in 2023 that ranked 27th in DVOA, 30th in points allowed, and 31st in yards allowed last year. Getting rid of the defense’s best player with grand aspirations to get better seems, well, odd.

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While a trade could occur if Hunter’s asking price is too high, for example, in the ballpark of $25 million per season, sending the pass rusher elsewhere isn’t a foregone conclusion, according to KSTP’s Darren Wolfson.

Wolfson said on SKOR North’s Mackey & Judd Show Thursday, “I have a very, very, very, very strong sense that leakage did not come from TCO performance center. It did not come from the Vikings. So, we’re looking at either some other team that is hoping putting this out there required with a Vikings if they’re hoping this can push trade talks forward, or it was Danielle’s representation not happy with where new contract talks stand.”

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Hunter was the league’s seventh-best EDGE defender in 2022, tabulating an 87.1 grade from Pro Football Focus.

Wolfson continued on the Hunter hubbub, “The Vikings have had every intention, going back many, many weeks, to have Danielle Hunter in purple in 2023, fully knowing that his current base salary just doesn’t float his boat — that they need to take care of him financially to get him some sort of spike up, right? But, you know, to me, this is a signal that Danielle’s camp is not real happy with where those contract talks stand.”

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The Vikings traded Za’Darius Smith to the Cleveland Browns about a month ago, and jettisoning the team’s two top pass-rushers would cause genuine head scratches about the prospect of defensive improvement in 2023.

“But until I hear otherwise, I don’t think a trade is on the cusp, is imminent. Maybe we get to that point eventually, but I’m just telling you, the Vikings have every intention — right now as we sit here on June 8 — the Vikings want Danielle Hunter in purple,” Wolfson concluded.

When the Rapoport tweet arrived Wednesday, NFL fans and Vikings enthusiasts ran with the trade-Hunter tidbits as gospel, but perhaps it’s a cog in the contract-extension process. Wolfson, an extremely credible Minnesota sports voice, doesn’t seem to believe a trade is locked in.

Hunter turns 29 in October.

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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