The Minnesota Vikings have a player several teams are reportedly interested in. Rumors have swirled around Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook this offseason, but now another Vikings Pro Bowler is garnering attention.
Per NFL Media, teams have called the Vikings about pass rusher Danielle Hunter. The interest in him has reportedly been "pretty serious." In 2022, Hunter recorded 65 combined tackles, 22 QB hits and 10.5 sacks as he returned to Pro Bowl form after missing 10 games in 2021 due to a torn pectoral.
Hunter's future is in question to say the least. The 28-year-old is entering the final year of a per Spotrac. The Vikings have been unable to agree to a long-term extension with Hunter at this point, and even reportedly pitched a "Band-Aid" deal that would give Hunter more money in 2023.he signed with Minnesota before the 2018 season, and is scheduled to make just $5.5 million in 2023,
Hunter has been the subject of trade rumors over the past few years, and even NFL games, Hunter has recorded 379 combined tackles, 71 sacks and made three Pro Bowls.in 2021 after skipping voluntary workouts. He has also dealt with injury issues, as Hunter missed all of the 2020 season due to a neck injury, and missed the majority of the 2021 campaign due to the aforementioned pectoral injury. In 102 career
A Hunter trade would have been more feasible before the 2023 NFL Draft, and it's hard to imagine the Vikings trading Hunter right after they dealt Za'Darius Smith to the Cleveland Browns. Plus, Spotrac points out the Vikings will have $11.24 million in dead cap space next year if they trade Hunter. Still, a move could happen if a team approaches Minnesota with an attractive offer.
Something to keep in mind is that if the Vikings do deal Hunter, an extension for the pass rusher would likely happen as well. Let's examine four potential landing spots for Hunter.
New Panthers head coach Frank Reich is an offensive-minded leader, but he has great appreciation for his young defense. He's called this unit the "secret sauce," and identified it as something Carolina can build around. The Panthers have a star pass rusher in Brian Burns, who is expecting a new deal in the near future, but could stand to upgrade opposite of him. The Panthers also have more than $27 million in cap space, per Over The Cap, which ranks No. 2 in the NFL behind the Chicago Bears. This makes Carolina a potential landing spot.
The Ravens could absolutely stand to upgrade their pass rush. Justin Houston and Jason Pierre-Paul are no longer on the roster, which opens up a hole the veteran Hunter could fill. Baltimore does have a couple of young players with potential in Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo, but Hunter would be an immediate-impact player for a unit that wants to get after the quarterback. The Ravens have $11.5 million in cap space.
The 49ers lost two of their top three pass rushers from last year in Samson Ebukam and Charles Omenihu. Many are expecting Drake Jackson to take a big step forward in Year 2, but there's no guarantee he will. He was a healthy inactive at the end of his rookie season. Adding Hunter would give the 49ers one of the best pass-rushing duos in the NFL with him and Nick Bosa. They have $10.6 million in available cap space.
Former 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is now calling the shots in Houston, and you can bet he believes a rebuild can be expedited by a formidable defense. The Texans drafted Will Anderson Jr. No. 3 overall, but inserting Hunter opposite of him could make for a pretty intriguing tandem. Additionally, the Texans are financially prepared to make this move if they want to, as they have $16.7 million in cap space.