DE Danielle Hunter, Vikings agree to restructured deal

Danielle Hunter didn’t need to hold out of mandatory minicamp to see his desires met by the Vikings.

Hunter and the Vikings have agreed to terms on a reworked contract, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per sources informed of the situation. In the agreement, Hunter will see a significant portion of the money due to him arrive much sooner. In return, the Vikings answer 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 the money due to him in 2021 as a signing bonus, putting cash in his pocket quicker than the usual base salary. The more significant change, though, comes in 2022, when a new $18 million roster bonus is set to trigger on the fifth day of the league year. That 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 via the roster bonus, if he’s still on the team on that date — sign him to a new deal or release Hunter in order to save money, Rapoport added.

Essentially, what was once a five-year extension now becomes a four-year agreement, with a major fork in the road arriving in March.

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

When healthy and available, Hunter remains a game-wrecking edge rusher. He tallied 14.5 sacks in each of his two most recent campaigns, reaching the Pro Bowl in 2018 and 2019.

Hunter’s value is unquestioned. Now it’s just a matter of whether the Vikings believe he’s worth $20 million in 2022. Everything is in place for 2021 to go off without a hitch, provided Hunter can remain healthy. Decision day isn’t near, but it also isn’t too far down the road.

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