Danielle Hunter Will Get … How Much?

Danielle Hunter Saga
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings will be involved in the market for Danielle Hunter when free agency opens, but it shouldn’t be expected that he will be back in purple. Looking for a sizable payday, other teams could definitely hand out more money. ESPN sure thinks he’s going to get a sizable raise.

Danielle Hunter Will Get … How Much?

Although Danielle Hunter was under contract coming into the 2023 NFL season, he was looking for a bit more money prior to hitting the field. He didn’t stay away from the organization at the beginning of the year but wanted his bank account to be impacted before putting pads on. After being paid, he responded by having among the best seasons of his career.

danielle hunter
Lions running back D’Andre Swift is tackled by Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter during the second half of the Lions’ 34-23 win over the Vikings on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022, at Ford Field. © Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Putting up a new career-high in sacks before hitting the open market is certainly a good way to pad your bottom line. While ESPN’s Bill Barnwell doesn’t think Hunter is a franchise player at this stage of his career, he does put him as a “Pro Bowl-caliber starter.” Barnwell talks about how team-friendly the last deal was for Hunter and then notes the number of snaps Hunter has played as well as the injury concerns. All of these things are valid, but how his market shakes out remains to be seen.

“Coming off a season with 16.5 sacks and a league-high 23 tackles for loss, there’s no question whether Hunter will have a market. The big question for teams will be guaranteed years. To land Von Miller two years ago, the Bills had to give him two fully guaranteed years and a third practically guaranteed season, and that deal turned out to be a disaster.

PurplePTSD: 5 Questionable Vikings, Get to Know IND, Thielen's 2022 Campaign
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

Hunter is younger and coming off a better season than Miller was in 2022. Hunter’s résumé suggests that should be able to land three fully guaranteed seasons, but that will require a huge bet from a team and something north of $70 million in guarantees at signing. Would the Bears be willing to do that to team Hunter with Montez Sweat?”

The prediction is an average annual salary of $26 million, which would be a sizable outlay for a guy closing in on 30 and having already missed a significant amount of time. Because of that figure, as well as guaranteed dollars and years, the Vikings should be expected to pass on Hunter’s services for the 2024 season.

Priority Is So
Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

Unfortunately for Minnesota, moving on from Hunter means that they would basically be starting over at the edge rusher position. Marcus Davenport wasn’t worth anything to Minnesota in the first place, and D.J. Wonnum is both injured and a free agent as well. Brian Flores will need new sack masters for the season ahead, and Minnesota’s defense must get those players right.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.