Former Viking Hailed as the Best Free Agent Signing of the Offseason

This offseason saw the Minnesota Vikings lose a number of veteran players in free agency.

One of these now-former Vikings is pass rusher Danielle Hunter, who inked a mostly guaranteed two-year deal worth $49 million with the Houston Texans.

In the aftermath of the roster building portion of the offseason, CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin, Shanna McCarriston, and Jordan Dajani put their minds together to determine the best moves of the offseason in terms of free agent signings, draft picks, and trades.

As it turns out, both Benjamin and McCarriston were major fans of Houston’s signing of Hunter, naming it as their choice for the best free agent signing of the offseason.

Former Viking Named Best Free Agent Signing

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) warms up before the game against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

“It’s hard not to like the Houston Texans’ splashy investment off the edge, where Danielle Hunter gives them one of the NFL’s most imposing edge rushers to pair with Will Anderson Jr. and play under DeMeco Ryans. Is he expensive? Sure. But as a short-term add for a sudden contender, you can’t do much better,” Benjamin explained.

Meanwhile, McCarriston explained his decision like this: “The Texans are rapidly on the rise and one of my top teams to watch next season. Four-time Pro Bowler Danielle Hunter immediately improves their defense. The team’s big free agency shows its commitment to winning now. The Texans’ offense is strong, and to keep up with other AFC powerhouse offenses like the Chiefs and Ravens, they needed strong leaders like Hunter.”

Some Vikings fans may roll their eyes at Dajani’s pick of DT Christian Wilkins, who signed with the Las Vegas Raiders. Prior to the agreement with Las Vegas, Wilkins was heavily connected to the Minnesota Vikings in free agency. Instead, he headed to Las Vegas, and the Vikings virtually struck out on all of the top defensive tackle signings.

Aug 3, 2023; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) during training camp at TCO Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Back to the Hunter signing for Houston, though, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect player to pair with Will Anderson, who the Texans selected with the third overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. His rookie season went swimmingly, posting 45 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and seven sacks on his way to the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

Houston found great success in 2023 with their young roster, going 10-7 and winning the AFC South as well as their Wild Card matchup against the Cleveland Browns. It was the team’s first playoff appearance since 2019 and the seventh in franchise history.

Hunter has been a major part of the Vikings’ success in the past decade, being a part of four separate playoff runs, including the 2017 run to the NFC Championship Game. Hunter posted double-digit sacks during five of his nine years in Minnesota, and at 87.5 sacks over his career, he ranks sixth all-time in Vikings franchise history. He surpassed Jared Allen during the 2023 season in which he put up a career-high 16.5 sacks.

Former Viking
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

The pass rusher will now bring his winning pedigree to Houston and will make his return to U.S. Bank Stadium at some point during the 2024 season to play against the Vikings.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Reference.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of 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.