One Trade Spot for Danielle Hunter Won’t Go Away

Unveils Latest Danielle Hunter
Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings may have saved their 2023 campaign with an ugly win over the Chicago Bears last weekend, but the victory did not end all trade rumors.

NFL general managers have two weeks to trade players before the Halloween deadline, and some league sources claim player movement in the days before October 31st will be unprecedented.

One Trade Spot for Danielle Hunter Won’t Go Away

The theory suggests bad teams will be in a hurry to softly tank for USC’s Caleb Williams, who, barring injury, will be selected first overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. We shall see if the forecast is correct on a trade frenzy.

And in the rumor mill, Danielle Hunter’s name won’t go away. Pull up any “which players could be traded” publication on the internet, and readers will likely find the Vikings keynote pass rusher.

One Trade Spot for Danielle
Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) on the sidelines in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

Hunter ranks first in the NFL in sacks and tackles for loss despite a curiously low 64.5 Pro Football Focus grade, ranking him as the league’s 58th-best EDGE rusher. What a world. Evidently ignoring PFF, general managers may be hunting for Hunter, and the Jacksonville Jaguars appear at the front of the line.

This week, CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin theorized 15 trade ideas around the sport, and unsurprisingly, Hunter made the cut. He suggested Hunter to Jacksonville for a conditional 2nd-Round draft pick and explained, “Jacksonville has Josh Allen thriving off the edge, but more pass-rushing power can’t hurt, as Doug Pederson knows well from his days with the Eagles.”

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.

Jacksonville and Minnesota did pass-rushing business three years ago when Yannick Ngakoue was traded to the Vikings.

“Hunter is off to a hot start under new coordinator Brian Flores in Minnesota, but the Vikings are reportedly fielding offers as they continue their ‘competitive rebuild.’ Maybe the conditional deal is dependent on whether he re-signs,” Benjamin added.

Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) celebrates the win after the game against the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Hunter’s pass-rushing teammate, Marcus Davenport, was injured Sunday against the Bears, reportedly suffering from a high ankle sprain that could send him to injured reserve for a month or more. In that vein — no Davenport for 4-6 games, plus a theoretical Hunter trade — the Vikings would truly “give up” on the 2023 season.

Too, last week, KSTP’s Darren Wolfson talked about Jacksonville’s Hunter interest on SKOR North’s Mackey and Judd Show, “I know this, Jacksonville has all sorts of interest in Danielle Hunter. What are they willing to offer? Can you complete that trade?”

Jun 7, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) performs a drill during mandatory mini camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Hunter trade rumors continue to percolate when the Vikings defense is just hitting a groove. From Week 1 through 3, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles, and Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota’s defense ranked 26th league wide per EPA/Play. In three games versus the Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Chicago Bears, the mark improved to seventh-best in the NFL — or 16th for the whole season.

Hunter may be on the move if the Vikings lose the next two games and feel doomed with a 2-6 record two days before the trade deadline. But with Davenport likely hitting the shelf and the team’s belief the season can be saved, Hunter will probably complete 2023 in purple and explore his options in March.

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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