Danielle Hunter’s Return to Action and Quick Link to Za’Darius Smith

Hunter became a starter in 2017 when veteran Brian Robison generously backed the move. The two worked with Everson Griffen to total 24 sacks and power a unit that led the NFL in points against, yards against, touchdown passes allowed and third down conversions. Hunter recorded 7.0 of those 24 sacks while being solid against the run.

He broke through in 2018 with his first of two straight Pro Bowl seasons that featured 14.5 sacks in consecutive campaigns, becoming the first Viking to record that many consecutive seasons since Jared Allen (2008-09).

After starting every game for three straight seasons, Hunter went through what was initially described as an “adjustment” during the 2020 training camp opener before the players put on the pads. The injury ultimately required surgery and sidelined him for all of 2020.

He returned last year only to have to go through another lengthy rehabilitation process. His teammates have admired his approach through it all.

Dalvin Cook, who suffered a torn ACL four games into his NFL career, credited Hunter’s determination.

“Coming back from injury is always tough. I’ve been there before. I’ve been down that road,” Cook said. “Just his determination. You’ve been around ‘D’. He doesn’t talk much, but once he’s comfortable with you, he talks with you. don’t get discouraged or let him not get discouraged, he’s looking to attack, he’s looking for the next day, he’s looking for the next opportunity for him to come out here. I’m just glad to see him again, because y’all know ‘D’ [is] a monster, so we need him on the pitch.”

Comments are closed.