Danielle Hunter has signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings, ending the contract dispute between him and the team. Hunter, who was scheduled to make $4.9 million in base salary up to $5.5 million after bonuses, is now guaranteed to earn $17 million in 2023, with the ability to earn up to $20 million, according to Tom Pelissero at NFL Network.
New Contract Ends Danielle Hunter’s ‘Hold In’ With the Minnesota Vikings
This ends the “hold in” that Hunter was conducting, which kept him from participating in practices despite appearing at the facility to avoid the fines associated with missing training camp. It also ends the swirling trade rumors, which had ramped up after a report from ESPN indicated that the Vikings had reached out to other teams in order to move Hunter.
In Minnesota’s Week 14 game in 2019 against the Detroit Lions, Hunter became the youngest player in NFL history to reach 50 sacks, having done so at 25 years and 40 days old when he sacked quarterback David Blough on the third play.
Since then, Hunter has been a consistent high-level producer in pressure rate with a high-level capacity to stop the run. Since 2018, when he signed his first extension with the team, Hunter ranked eighth among edge rushers with at least 1,500 pass-rushing snaps in pressure rate and seventh in pressures per game.
Last year, Hunter ranked sixth in total pressures despite not receiving the help of a blitz-heavy scheme.
Vikings Have Benefited From a Cheap Hunter Contract
Hunter was scheduled to end the year having made the eighth-most among edge rushers in total cash since 2018, an underpay when accounting for the fact that some of the players ranked below him signed extensions in 2019 and 2020, as well as the fact that others are still operating under the rookie salary cap.
Now Hunter’spay is commensurate with his talent level, but he still needs to sign a long-term deal with a team — which could be with Minnesota or somewhere else.
The Vikings had projected confidence in being able to secure a deal with Hunter. Right before the beginning of training camp, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said the conversations with him and Hunter were “ongoing” and that he was “really excited to see” Hunter on the field for the Vikings.
On Saturday, head coach Kevin O’Connell mentioned that he had daily conversations with the edge rusher. He also projected confidence about retaining Hunter, ending the line of questioning surrounding the hold in by saying, “Having him hopefully in 99 in purple would be my choice.”
For at least one more year, that will remain the case.