The Caveat about Danielle Hunter Extension Talks

Vikings Should Feast
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The Minnesota Vikings want Danielle Hunter back in 2024. Danielle Hunter wishes to return with the Vikings, too.

Now, the two parties must meet in the middle on a contract extension, an agreement that should materialize in the next eight weeks, if it happens at all.

The Caveat about Danielle Hunter Extension Talks

The caveat? Hunter may not be quite as expensive as some believe.

Caveat about Danielle
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Pro Football Focus recently projected the league’s Top 100 free agents, and Hunter checked in at No. 12, sandwiched between Michael Pittman (WR, Indianapolis Colts, No. 11) and Mike Evans (WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, No. 13). And price was the surprising part, at least per PFF’s estimation.

The sports-grading outfit suggested Hunter will sign a three-year agreement for $65 million — also known as $21.7 million annually. The NFL’s highest-paid EDGE earns $34 million per season, Nick Bosa, for the San Francisco 49ers. Usually when a new league year arrives, player salaries increase incrementally, but Hunter remaining with the Vikings or signing elsewhere for $21.7 million per year would contradict the typical pattern.

Sack Master
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PFF’s Brad Spielberger summarized Hunter’s free-agent profile, “Hunter has been a revelation in new defensive coordinator Brian Flores’ blitz-heavy scheme, though he was just as productive in 2022. Teams that run a 3-4 or 4-3 could probably find a way to effectively deploy Hunter, and injury concerns of a few years ago seem like distant memories. He is on pace for another season with 900-plus snaps, 70-plus quarterback pressures and double-digit sacks.”

For team-building purposes, a Hunter reunion for three years and $65 million would be quasi-affordable if not perfect. He notched a career year in 2023, his age-29 season, tabulating 16.5 sacks, a career-high. That mark ranked fifth leaguewide, trailing T.J. Watt (19.0), Trey Hendrickson (17.5), Josh Allen (17.5), and Khalil Mack (17.0). Paying Hunter the 10th-highest salary in the sport would be a steal of a deal, especially by the time the contract neared expiration. In 2026, $21.7 million annually for someone of Hunter’s caliber will be a bargain.

Future in Minnesota Should
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Reporters asked Hunter earlier this month if we wanted to stay in Minnesota. He replied succinctly, “Yes, sir.”

Almost as a requirement — otherwise they’ll need an emergency alternative plan — the Vikings must re-sign Hunter. Entering the offseason, only Patrick Jones and Andre Carter are under contract for EDGE-rushing depth, and starting at next to zero would be a dreadful agenda.

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

“I went out there, did what I was told to do. I was excited about how I played this year,” Hunter also about mentioned his performance this season.

Hunter will turn 30 in October, which evidently keeps his market value near the bottom rung of Top 10 EDGE earnings. So, if PFF is close to correct, Minnesota should pounce and make the man a career-long Viking.


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 OverTheCap.com.

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