Danielle Hunter WILL Be Present at Vikings Minicamp Tuesday

Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn - USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory mini-camps have already arrived, as the NFL offseason surges toward a return-to-normal 2022 season. Some teams, like the Rodgers-less Packers, hosted their mini-camps last week but much of the league will start today and tomorrow. When Minnesota Vikings players filter into TCO Performance Center in Eagan on Monday and Tuesday, all eyes will comb the parking lot for a contractually disgruntled Danielle Hunter.

Hunter is reportedly upset about his underwhelming contract and hasn’t been seen around Vikings training facilities yet this offseason. But former NFL player and now NFL Network personality, James Jones, says Danielle WILL arrive (presumably by automobile) in that TCO parking lot today or tomorrow. Ben Goessling (Star Tribune) has confirmed Jones’ report (updated 12:20 PM).

While most of his teammates were hanging out at the same place last week, Hunter was absent. His attendance wasn’t “mandatory” but he still missed out on $100K in contract bonuses by choosing not to be there. If he skips mandatory workouts for all three days of minicamp this week, the Vikings have the option to fine him $93,000 BUT those fines aren’t forced by the NFL until training camp starts.

Latest on Contract talks

Somebody in the Minnesota Vikings front office has clearly been chatting up Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press, who dropped some very specific information on what Rick and Rob might do to appease Danielle Hunter. The Vikings are mulling a straight $2 million raise to his scheduled $12.2M salary in 2021. An incentive-driven deal is also an option.

Hunter was paid $11.5 million last season despite not playing after neck surgery. A good guess now is that the Vikings will offer Hunter, under contract for $12.2 million this season, an increase of about $2 million this year, provided he’s healthy, and then upgrade his deal at the end of the year.

It won’t be surprising if the Vikings try to placate Hunter by offering $1 million or so for every two or three sacks he gets this year. If he doesn’t agree to that sort of deal, he’ll probably have to sit out and lose more money.

Charley Walters – Pioneer Press

What if he continues to holdout?

I can’t imagine a scenario where Danielle Hunter isn’t in Minnesota Vikings purple for week 1 vs the Cincinnati Bengals. When training camp rolls around later next month, fines for holding out become mandatory and life financially would only get worse for Hunter from there. If the 26-year-old DE were to get really stubborn and sit out all of 2021, he’d lose his salary and have to pay back some of his signing bonus. In total, he’d lose about $17 million (according to Walters).

And then after losing all that cash, Hunter’s contract would toll to next year, leaving him with the same remaining three seasons he has this summer. So unless Danielle wants to be in the same exact situation contractually at this time next season (with $17M less), he’ll suit up and play football for the Vikings come August/September.

If Hunter, 26, refuses to play this season, he would lose his salary, have to pay back on a pro-rated basis some of his initial $15 million signing bonus, and his contract would toll, meaning it would be pushed back a year.

That could cost Hunter, considering projected incentives, about $17 million this year. And he still would have three years left on his contract.

Charley Walters – Pioneer Press

How about a trade?

Trading Danielle Hunter would bring a boatload in return, Walters speculates a haul of two 1st rounders plus more. I think that’s the floor. To this point, the Vikings have taken calls on Danielle Hunter but haven’t been willing to listen to offers.

Again, Hunter has no leverage long-term. If he can get the Vikings to budge at all, he should probably take the deal. Maybe his expected presence at camp tomorrow means talks are headed in that direction.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan