Vikings OLB Danielle Hunter Is Headed to His 3rd Pro Bowl

For the third time in his career, and the first time since 2019, Vikings OLB Danielle Hunter is headed to the Pro Bowl at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. This became an expected announcement overnight as the Philadelphia Eagles knocked off the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game to advance to the Super Bowl, which will take place one week after the Pro Bowl Games.

This is important as Haason Reddick was slated to participate had the Eagles lost prior to the Pro Bowl weekend, but since they are heading to Phoenix for the big game, Hunter, the first alternate at OLB, will get to go instead.

After making back-to-back Pro Bowls in 2018 and 2019, Hunter went through two seasons in 2020 and 2021 that were derailed by injury. In 2020, his season was ended before it could begin due to a neck injury suffered during training camp. Then, his 2021 season ended after just seven games due to a torn pectoral muscle. Despite playing just seven games, Hunter still ranked second on the team in sacks by recording 6.0.

Vikings OLB Danielle Hunter Is Headed to His 3rd Pro Bowl
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) celebrates the win after the game against the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

2022 was his bounce back season that fans hoped for. Hunter largely remained healthy throughout the entire season, starting all 17 regular season games as well as the Vikings playoff game against the New York Giants. Over the course of the regular season, he recorded 65 tackles, 12 TFLs, a team-leading 10.5 sacks, 3 pass defenses, and a forced fumble.

All in all, Hunter wasn’t quite as dominant as a pass rusher as he was during his back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons where totaled a combined 29 sacks, but this is a great starting point after missing so much time due to injury. The award is well-deserved, and now, we’ll see if the Vikings offer him a contract extension this offseason.

Hunter is now the seventh Viking that will be headed to the Pro Bowl, joining Dalvin Cook as another of the alternates who will replace injured Cowboys RB Tony Pollard. Events will start on Thursday, February 2nd, with the first flag football Pro Bowl game being played on Sunday, February 5th.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.