Danielle Hunter Could Be in Final Days with Vikings, Too

Hunter Is a Litmus
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Most of the Minnesota Vikings fan community has been latched onto Kirk Cousins’ future, waiting to determine if the 35-year-old will re-up in purple for a seventh season. But there’s the Danielle Hunter matter, too.

Danielle Hunter Could Be in Final Days with Vikings, Too

Hunter will hit free agency on Monday if he does not reach an extension with the Vikings and is expected to fetch ample interest on the open market. EDGE rushers often power into their 30s with ease, and few doubt Hunter will be an exception.

Danielle Hunter
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And according to Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling, the end may actually be near for Hunter in purple. Goessling joined The Paul Allen Show on KFAN this week, and when asked if he believed Hunter would find a new team on Monday, he replied, “I do.”

Goessling diligently covers the Vikings for the Star Tribune and doesn’t present outlandish theories. When he says he expects Hunter to head elsewhere, it’s not out of left field.

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Minnesota scooped Hunter from the 2015 NFL Draft in Round 3, a magnificent pick that has paid dividends since. He recorded a career year in 2023, his age-29 season, tabulating 16.5 sacks, a career-high. That mark also ranked fifth leaguewide, trailing T.J. Watt (19.0), Trey Hendrickson (17.5), Josh Allen (17.5), and Khalil Mack (17.0). He also led the NFL in tackles for loss.

The four-time Pro Bowler previously stated — a few times — that his goal was to remain a Viking for the rest of his career, but his comments at the Pro Bowl appeared to walk that stance back a bit. He told NFL.com about his upcoming free agency last month, “Just letting everything play its course. I did my job. Everything’s in my agent’s hands and my team — and whomever it is that’s out there. My job, like I said, is to do my job. And I’m gonna make sure I stay in shape and whatever is best available for me, I’ll take that.”

In February, ESPN listed the Los Angeles Rams as its top landing spot for Hunter in free agency. Soon after, the aforementioned Paul Allen said on-air, “Alec Lewis (The Athletic) dropped the Jaguars the other day because I can tell he’s getting his snoop on & that makes sense, & I happen to think he’s right … I’d bet here or Jacksonville.”

Danielle Hunter
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So, that’s the Jaguars and Rams for possible next employers for Hunter, per the rumor mill.

Of course, if the Vikings don’t re-sign Cousins, they’ll have a lot of cash to spend on free agents. A Cousins departure would make it more likely for Hunter to return for Year No. 10 in Minnesota.

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If Minnesota doesn’t re-sign Hunter, it will need two starting outside linebackers, either from free agency or the draft.

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.