Vikings Defender Earns Sweet Accolade

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

He’s scheduled to hit free agency in 49 days, but first, Pro Football Writers of America has good news for Danielle Hunter.

Vikings Defender Earns Sweet Accolade

PFWA awarded Hunter first-team NFC accolades in 2023, the first such distinction of his eight-year career. Hunter was named to the PFWA All-Rookie team in 2015, but this accolade is new.

Defender Earns Sweet
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings main social media account tweeted Monday afternoon, “Danielle Hunter has been named to the All-NFC Team by the PFWA Writers.”

Here’s the PFWA All-NFC Offense:

QB
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
RB
Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers
Kyren Williams, Los Angeles Rams
WR
Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions
CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys
TE
George Kittle
, San Francisco 49ers
C
Jason Kelce, Philadelphia Eagles
G
Chris Lindstrom, Atlanta Falcons
Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys
T
Penei Sewell, Detroit Lions
Trent Williams, San Francisco 49ers

And the defense:

DE
Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers
Aidan Hutchinson, Detroit Lions
DT
Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants
OLB
Danielle Hunter, Minnesota Vikings
Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys
MLB
Fred Warner, San Francisco 49ers
CB
DaRon Bland, Dallas Cowboys
Jaylon Johnson, Chicago Bears
S
Jessie Bates III, Atlanta Falcons
Antoine Winfield, Jr., Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports.

Hunter banked 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 with 23.

Almost as a requirement — otherwise they’ll need an emergency alternative plan — the Vikings must re-sign Hunter. Entering the offseason, only Patrick Jones and Andre Carter are under contract for EDGE-rushing depth, and starting at next to zero would be a dreadful agenda. His next contract could fetch around $25 million per season, and Minnesota should oblige the asking price.

Danielle Hunter Is Back — Sort Of
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports.

The four-time Pro Bowler will become a free agent in about two months, and sans an extension from the Vikings, Hunter could sign anywhere in the NFL and continue his quarterback terrorism elsewhere. And with his future front and center in the Vikings offseason plans, reporters asked Hunter if we wanted to stay in Minnesota. He replied succinctly, “Yes, sir.”

“I went out there, did what I was told to do. I was excited about how I played this year,” Hunter about mentioned his performance this season.

Caveat about Danielle
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

If the Vikings [weirdly] weren’t interested in prolonging Hunter’s stay, he’d command the utmost interest in free agency. General managers salivate over productive pass rushers, and 16.5 sacks in a single season don’t grow on trees. What’s more, 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.

Hunter concluded about his future, “It’s all I know. I came into this league, I don’t know any better. Purple. Ever since middle school, I’ve always been wearing purple. I’m here now. Purple.”

He’ll 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 OverTheCap.com.

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