Danielle Hunter No-Shows the Opening of Vikings Offseason Workouts

Danielle Hunter
Oct 24, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

As discussed by head coach Kevin O’Connell in last week’s pre-draft press conference, the Minnesota Vikings have begun their voluntary offseason workout as of Monday morning. While it is a voluntary event, O’Connell himself stated during that press conference that the expectation was for attendance to be high. Because of that, it is notable that star OLB Danielle Hunter no-showed on Monday for the beginning of these workouts.

The absence of Hunter was first reported by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, who stated in a tweet, “Vikings DE Danielle Hunter is not expected to attend the start of Minnesota’s voluntary offseason program, per sources.”

“The absence is likely due to his contract — he’s set to make $4.9 million in the last year of his deal, well below the market value of a three-time Pro Bowler,” Fowler concluded.

Danielle Hunter No-Show
Jan 11, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings, Defensive End, Danielle Hunter, (99) at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Hunter’s contract certainly is well below what other players with his type of production demand (10.5 sacks in 2022), but it became that way largely because of what happened the previous two years.

In 2020, the star pass-rusher missed the entire season due to a neck injury, and then in 2021, he played just seven games before missing the final 10 games with a torn pectoral muscle. While his 2022 season was back to his usual Pro Bowl production, the Vikings could very well be looking for a second consecutive productive season before committing to giving him a contract extension and pay raise.

Heading into the offseason, Minnesota had one of the grimmest salary cap situations in the league, and as the dust begins to settle, the Vikings still have just $1.45 million in cap space for this year, the lowest in the league, per Over the Cap. Keep in mind, Minnesota still has to pay their 2023 draft class as well, which we will see form in less than two weeks.

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Dec 8, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Vikings and Hunter are at a stalemate at this point, but if Fowler is correct in his assertion that this absence could be due to Hunter’s contract, it only casts more doubt on the future of yet another Vikings veteran. So far this offseason, we’ve seen another pass-rusher, Za’Darius Smith, request to be released from Minnesota, and we’ve seen some questions regarding the status of RB Dalvin Cook for 2023 as well. Furthermore, all signs point to the Vikings starting a new QB in 2024.

Nothing is imminent as of now, but things continue to trend towards a massive roster turnover prior to the 2024 season if a resolution does not happen relatively soon.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.