The Big 3 Vikings News Items | Offseason Week 6

Mill Links Danielle
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The Kansas City Chiefs prevailed as back-to-back Super Bowl champions last weekend, marking the official start of the NFL offseason.

The Big 3 Vikings News Items | Offseason Week 6

Soon, free agency will get underway when “legal tampering” hits the calendar on March 11th.

The Big 3 Vikings
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In the meantime, these were the Vikings’ top three news items of Offseason Week No. 6. They’re ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most important).

3. Danielle Hunter Linked to CHI, DET in Rumor Mill

How Far Can Danielle
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jake Browning (6) is sacked hard by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) in the second quarter of the NFL Week 15 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Minnesota Vikings at PayCor Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023. © Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Last weekend, ESPN linked Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Danielle Hunter to the Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars as possible free-agent destinations. The veteran defender is scheduled to hit free agency in three weeks, and if the Vikings don’t re-sign him, he can join any NFL team. ESPN tends to believe that could be the Vikings’ secondary rival, the Bears — or Jacksonville, a spot whispered as Hunter’s next destination for about a half-decade.

According to Bleacher Report, the Detroit Lions, too, are a team to monitor in the would-be Hunter Sweepstakes. BR‘s David Kenyon analyzed the NFL’s top 10 free agents on Saturday and predicted the Lions as victors for Hunter’s services.

“Presuming the Vikings keep Cousins, their cap crunch might result in Danielle Hunter leaving on the open market. Worse yet, he might not travel far. Hunter has notched 10-plus sacks in five of his eight seasons and tallied a career-best 16.5 in 2023,” Kenyon wrote about Hunter to Detroit.

Hunter led the NFL in tackles for loss last season. He also accrued 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). Most consider 2023 the best of Hunter’s career, a convenient time for his next contract, whether from the Vikings, Lions, Bears, Jaguars, or another team.

Kenyon added, “His value, quite literally, has never been higher. While it’s bad (self-inflicted) financial timing for Minnesota, the NFC North-rival Detroit Lions are lurking with a major pass-rushing need. Losing him to anyone would pain the Vikings, but watching him leave for a division foe would only add to the sting.”

Losing Hunter to free agency would be a crushing blow to Brian Flores’ defense and even worse if he signed on as a Bear or Lion.

2. Paul Allen Reveals Rookie QB Preference

Network Has Explosive
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Paul Allen said on The Life Gorgeous podcast this week when asked by Craig Kilborn about his Vikings rookie quarterback preference from the draft, “Personally, for the way [Kevin] O’Connell runs things here, Drake Maye is my favorite of those, with [Caleb] Williams being out of the equation. And I love [Jayden] Daniels; he’s super athletic, but there is a system that has proven it works, and that’s how things go here.”

Of course, the Vikings will likely have to trade up the board to capture Maye on draft night. In theory, his draft stock could fall, but that’s improbable as of mid-February. However, bartering with a team like the Washington Commanders at No. 2 or the New England Patriots at No.3 would put the Vikings in prime territory to select Maye. The pick would mark the first time in history that the Vikings used Top 10 draft capital to choose a quarterback, if that can be believed.

And the Voice of the Vikings made his preference clear if the Vikings finally do it. Mr. Maye.

1. Vikings Hire Marcus Dixon as DL Coach

Coach for 2024
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Marcus Dixon will coach the Vikings’ defensive line in 2024. Dixon replaced Chris Rumph, who joined Clemson University’s coaching staff.

Minnesota plucked Dixon from the Denver Broncos coaching staff, where he spent two seasons in 2022 and 2023 with the same title under defensive line coach under Nathaniel Hackett in 2022 and Sean Payton in 2023. Now, he’ll coach men like Harrison Phillips on Sundays and whichever defensive tackle upgrade(s) the Vikings might find in free agency or the draft.

Dixon was a part of the 2021 Rams team that won the Super Bowl over the Cincinnati Bengals, coworkers with Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell, who was Los Angeles’ offensive coordinator that season. Right after winning the Lombardi trophy, O’Connell became the Vikings’ skipper, and Dixon headed for Denver.

Now, the two reunite.

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).

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