What Would Happen without Danielle Hunter?

Danielle Hunter
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The Minnesota Vikings offseason has been heavily dominated by what the franchise will do at the quarterback position. With Kirk Cousins no longer under contract and a strong draft class on the horizon, that all makes a lot of sense. What happens when Danielle Hunter doesn’t return either?

What Would Happen without Danielle Hunter?

Taken in the 3rd round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of LSU, Danielle Hunter has spent every snap of his career in Vikings purple. It seems unfathomable to think of him in a different uniform, but that is definitely the crossroads that Minnesota is at. After one of his best seasons as a professional, in which trade talks also swirled, Hunter is set to collect the bag.

What Would Happen
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Playing in 17 games for the second straight season, Hunter racked up a career-best 16.5 sacks. He was worthy of Defensive Player of the Year consideration, and Hunter was tracking toward the league lead in sacks for a while. In a contract year, the timing for his impressive explosion couldn’t have been better. Of course, that also means that any amount of money Minnesota had ticketed for Hunter coming into the year won’t be close to enough at this stage.

It remains likely that Hunter will find a deal of at least three years, and the commitment will be a sizable one. He should have a hefty annual payday, and the guaranteed money will also come in on the high side. With a need to potentially pay Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson, bringing back Hunter for big dollars may not be in the cards.

Vikings Should Feast
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That reality is an unfortunate one, but very possible. If and when it does come to fruition, Kevin O’Connell will face the reality that his cupboard of edge rushers is bare. Unfortunately for Brian Flores, that will make it very difficult to bring down the opposing passer. Marcus Davenport is a free agent and has already stolen enough money from the Vikings, and D.J. Wonnum is also hitting free agency after his ugly late-season injury.

Minnesota could opt to make a move on an edge rusher in the draft, but to do so would require them to either hit on a later-round pick or use the 11th overall selection to grab a day-one starter. They could go with a lesser option in free agency or explore the trade market, but regardless, a new face may be lining up on the defensive line.

Changing Thoughts
January 10th, 2024. Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell and GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center concluding the 2023 NFL regular season. Minnesota finished 7-10 in 2023 and missed the postseason.

Seeing Hunter in a different uniform will certainly be a different look. He has worn purple dating back to college and has yet to experience the NFL with a different organization. It would be great if the sides could find a workable middle ground, but for a player who looked to get his money last offseason, he’s likely headed to the highest bidder this time.

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.