DE Danielle Hunter and Vikings agree to restructured deal


Danielle Hunter did not need to hold the mandatory minicamp to have her desires fulfilled by the Vikings.

Hunter and the Vikings have agreed to the terms of a reworked contract, NFL network insider Ian Rapoport reported, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. In the deal, Hunter will see a significant chunk of the money owed to him arrive much sooner. In return, the Vikings respond to a lingering question regarding the status of one of their most important players.

As part of the renegotiated deal, Hunter receives $ 5.6 million of money owed to him in 2021 as a signing bonus, putting money in his pocket faster than base salary usual. The most significant change, however, comes in 2022, when a new $ 18 million roster bonus is expected to trigger on the fifth day of the league year. This date will serve as a decision point for the Vikings, who can either decide to keep Hunter on the roster at the expensive price of $ 20 million – with $ 18 million guaranteed through the roster bonus, if he’s still in the list. ‘team on that date – – sign it for a new deal or release Hunter to save money, Rapoport added.

Essentially, what was once a five-year extension is now turning into a four-year deal, with a major fork in the road coming in March.

At 26, Hunter is squarely in his prime, but also missed the entire 2020 season with a neck injury that required surgery. Minnesota suffered tremendously without him in 2020, falling deep into the league’s bottom third in yards allowed per game (393.3) and finishing 28th in the league in total sacks with just 23 on the team.

When healthy and available, Hunter remains a destructive edge rusher. He’s collected 14.5 sacks in each of his last two campaigns, reaching the Pro Bowl in 2018 and 2019.

Hunter’s worth is unquestionable. Now the question is whether the Vikings think he’s worth $ 20 million in 2022. Everything is in place for 2021 to go off without a hitch, provided Hunter can stay healthy. Decision day isn’t near, but it’s not too far down the road, either.

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