It’s been a tough day for the Minnesota Vikings. First, they had to admit defeat on a stupid preseason trade that brought Yannick Ngakoue in from Jacksonville for a 2nd round pick. Then a while later, we found out that Danielle Hunter was going in for surgery on his herniated disk and ending any last hopes remaining that he’d play in 2020.
But, the hits didn’t stop there. Not only did Danielle Hunter end his 2020 season today… but he dialed up the panic meter for 2021. Apparently, the $12 million he’s scheduled to make next season isn’t going to be enough money for the stud defensive end. He wants to be paid amongst the highest DE’s in the NFL.
#Vikings star Danielle Hunter is having surgery to clean up a herniated disc, knocking him out for 2020, per me & @TomPelissero. MIN has a decision this offseason: Make Hunter the highest-paid defender in football or trade him. Have we seen the last of him in a Vikings uniform?— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 22, 2020
|Player Contract||AAV||2021 Cap Hit||2021 Cash|
|Tops in NFL**||$27M||$25.8M||$21.68M|
**Tops in NFL:
- AAV: Joey Bosa
- 2021 Cap Hit: Frank Clark
- 2021 Cash: Miles Garrett
Never say never… BUT
According to Spotrac.com, Danielle Hunter doesn’t rank at or near the top of any DE salary categories so the Vikings would have a lot of work to do on his contract, if they want to make him one of the highest-paid defensive ends in the league.
Plus, Hunter will be coming off of neck/back surgery to repair a herniated disk that shelved him for 2020. If Hunter does want to be paid that much… it could be difficult for Minnesota to be the team who foots the bill.
When healthy, Danielle Hunter ranks near the top of elite NFL pass rushers and he’s one of the youngest, at the ripe age of 25. Khalil Mack was traded for a king’s ransom when he went from Oakland to Chicago in 2018. That package included (2) 1st rounders and (1) 3rd rounder.
You can go a bit further back and look at the Vikings’ own history. They gave up (1) 1st-round pick and (2) 3rd-rounders to the Chiefs for a guy named Jared Allen back in 2006. The trade market price for elite pass rushers seems pretty constant at (1) 1st-round and at least (2) 3rd-round picks.
The Vikings need to shed cap so, if they are looking to hit the rebuild button on this franchise… then trading Hunter and losing his contract would actually make a lot of sense. That would be especially true if you can get someone to pull the trigger before the 2021 draft in April, where you could reap your benefits immediately.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan