The Danielle Hunter Trade Sweepstakes Have Arrived

Suddenly Sounds
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In an offseason showcasing more Dalvin Cook rumors than loons in Minnesota, a possible Danielle Hunter trade has entered the fold.

The Minnesota Vikings are in the middle of a ‘competitive rebuild,’ general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s self-professed strategy for the team’s future.

The Danielle Hunter Trade Sweepstakes Have Arrived

Attempting to live in the present and the future, Hunter is evidently a possible trade candidate, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Rapoport reported Wednesday, “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.”

Hunter is scheduled to earn around $5 million in ‘new money’ this season, hinting that the man needs a new contract, which most believed would be granted by Minnesota. But the Rapoport tidbit changes the forecast.

Hunter Trade Sweepstakes
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Adofo-Mensah could theoretically trade Hunter, who turns 29 this autumn, and receive a high-round draft pick, plus salary cap relief for the future. Hunter signed his first contract extension (five years, $72 million) in 2018 just as he was morphing into a true pass-rushing monster, and it was a wonderful deal at the time for Hunter and the Vikings.

Then, injuries arose two years later, shelving Hunter for the entirety of the pandemic season, 2020, and half of the 2021 campaign. Thereafter, he had little leverage for a new contract because two iterations of Vikings management wanted to ensure Hunter was back, healthy, and ready to go.

The Vikings Top Defensive Performers vs. Lions, per PFF
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Hunter answered any naysayers last season, playing all 17 games and acclimating to a 3-4 defense for the first time in his career. The LSU alumnus was back to his old self, ranking as the NFL’s seventh-best EDGE defender per PFF. Indeed, Hunter is ‘back,’ and the puny $5 million in new money on tap likely irks Hunter and his agent.

Too, if the Vikings have grand plans to draft a quarterback of the future in the 2024 NFL Draft — meaning Kirk Cousins’ final year in purple would be this season — trade capital received from a hypothetical Hunter trade could be directly used for the draft pick to land that young passer.

Lottery Ticket QB
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

And if the Vikings trade Hunter, gain draft capital, free up cap space, and plan for the future, plenty of free-agent pass rushers are available for 2023. The list includes Yannick Ngakoue, Jadeveon Clowney, Robert Quinn, and Justin Houston, among others. One of those men could pair with newcomer EDGE rusher Marcus Davenport.

Of course, Adofo-Mensah trading Hunter would not please everyone — Hunter is a dominant defender. Yet, if the competitive rebuild insists on not paying a soon-to-be 29-year-old EDGE rusher between $20 and $25 million annually, so be it.

Behind Harrison Smith, Hunter is the longest-tenured played on the Vikings current roster.

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