5 Possible Free Agent Destinations for Danielle Hunter

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Without an extension in the next six weeks, Danielle Hunter will hit open free agency for the first time in his nine-year career.

The Minnesota Vikings drafted Hunter in 2015, and he’s served as a defensive mainstay since.

5 Possible Free Agent Destinations for Danielle Hunter

However, if Minnesota isn’t in the mood to meet his financial demands, Hunter could walk to the highest bidder. He’s said for several months that he prefers to remain with the Vikings, but there’s a small chance the two parties cannot meet in the middle on an agreement. And if Hunter starts his next chapter elsewhere, these are five teams that could sign the 29-year-old. They’re ranked in ascending order of likelihood (No. 1 = most likely to sign Hunter).

5. Detroit Lions

2nd Chances
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A dirty little secret about the Lions? Their pass-rush win rate ranked eighth-worst in the NFL this season, according to ESPN. Detroit also has oodles of cap space entering the 2024 offseason, and these two factors jell to create a landing spot for Hunter.

Aidan Hutchinson and the longtime Viking would pair wonderfully.

4. Houston Texans

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Houston didn’t have Detroit’s pass-rush win rate problem in 2023 — it ranked third per the ESPN metric — but Jonathan Greenard is a free agent and could test the open market.

Hunter still has some prime years left at the age of 29, and partnering with Will Anderson could really work for the Texans. Plus, Hunter is from Houston. The Texans have about $58 million to spend on free agency.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Want to Avoid Making
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George Edwards is the outside linebackers coach for the Buccaneers, and he worked for the Vikings at the beginning of Hunter’s career. Those ties matter in sports, so keep an eye on Tampa Bay as a potential Hunter destination.

The Buccaneers ranked 17th per pass-rush win rate this season — so average.

2. Denver Broncos

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Believe it or not, with all the Sean Payton fanfare, former Vikings executive George Paton is still the general manager in Denver — even after the failed Russell Wilson trade. He knows Hunter more than anyone on this list, at least from a scouting perspective.

The Broncos are in cap hell, so this connection may be a bit dicey. But no matter what, Denver desperately needs pass-rushing reinforcements after finishing third-worst leaguewide per the ESPN stat referenced above.

1. Arizona Cardinals

5 Possible Free
Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon speaks to the press at the Cardinals facility in Tempe on Feb. 22, 2023. © Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Several coaches on the Cardinals’ new staff came from Mike Zimmer’s gang in Minnesota. Even head coach Jonathan Gannon was a Viking for four seasons as a defensive backs coach. He’ll know Hunter quite well.

Arizona’s pass rush stunk in 2023, and new general manager Monti Ossenfort conveniently has about $42 million to spend on free agency. Because of the coaching connections, the Cardinals’ need for pass rushers, and ample cap space, Arizona should be classified at the top of the list for Hunter’s services if he leaves Minnesota.

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.