Former Viking Named One of NFL’s Top Signings of 2024

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings said goodbye to long-time and beloved defender Danielle Hunter in March, who promptly joined his hometown Houston Texans via free agency.

Former Viking Named One of NFL’s Top Signings of 2024

In return, Minnesota added three men to replace Hunter: Jonathan Greenard from those same Texans, Andrew Van Ginkel of the Miami Dolphins, and the University of Alabama’s Dallas Turner from Round 1 of last month’s draft.

Top Signings
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

But according to CBS Sports, Hunter to Houston was one of the NFL’s top free-agent moves of the offseason. That website’s staff published an article this week detailing all the best and worst items from the last few months, and according to Cody Benjamin, Hunter to Houston took the cake as the league’s best free-agent addition.

“It’s hard not to like the Houston Texans’ splashy investment off the edge, where Danielle Hunter gives them one of the NFL’s most imposing edge rushers to pair with Will Anderson Jr. and play under DeMeco Ryans. Is he expensive? Sure. But as a short-term add for a sudden contender, you can’t do much better,” Benjamin explained.

ESPN Has Frightening
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

Shanna McCarriston from the same site also nominated Hunter and wrote, “The Texans are rapidly on the rise and one of my top teams to watch next season. Four-time Pro Bowler Danielle Hunter immediately improves their defense. The team’s big free agency shows its commitment to winning now. The Texans’ offense is strong, and to keep up with other AFC powerhouse offenses like the Chiefs and Ravens, they needed strong leaders like Hunter.”

Hunter, 29, joined the Texans on a two-year, $49 million deal, on tap to start in 2024 and formulate a formidable pass-rushing duo with second-year EDGE Will Anderson. The two, in theory, should wreak havoc in the AFC South.

The Vikings reportedly had a deal on the table for Hunter similar to what he ultimately signed in Houston, but when he didn’t accept it to start free agency, Minnesota acted, signing Greenard and Van Ginkel. There was no time to waste if Minnesota wanted starting EDGE rushers. Waiting for Hunter could’ve turned deadly for roster construction.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports.

Hunter joined the Vikings in 2015 as a 3rd-Round pick and didn’t take long to blossom.

He earned a starter’s job by 2017, his third year as a pro, replacing Brian Robison, and never looked back. In 2023, Hunter was the Vikings’ most consistent defensive player in a season when the defense, on the whole, was a total rollercoaster.

The club began 2023 with a terrible first three games, became one of the best defenses in football from Weeks 4 through 14, and bottomed out at the worst possible time during the season’s final four games.

All together last season, Hunter banked a career year, his age-29 campaign, totaling 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.

Curveball for Danielle
Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

Other top free-agent transactions mentioned by CBS Sports? Christian Wilkins to the Raiders.

Hunter will turn 30 in October.

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