The Minnesota Vikings offseason brouhaha has reached the doorstep of Danielle Hunter. For the last month, the masses have spent a copious and unnecessary amount of time pumping out Kirk Cousins trade rumors – none of which came even remotely close to fruition.
Now, the frenzy of attention centers on Danielle Hunter. The 26-year-old “liked” tweets on social media that complimented his skill set and encouraged Hunter to join a different NFL franchise. Folks buy into that engagement as they believe it is sure-fire confirmation that Hunter “wants out.” Nevermind solving contractual matters with the Vikings front office – let’s skip right to heart buttons on a digital cellphone app. The Digital Age is unique in that regard.
Hunter is recovering from a neck injury that disqualified his participation in the 2020 NFL season. The Vikings were not the same defensively without him. The offense rocked and rolled, but the defense resembled Minnesota’s output from the Mike Tice days. To be sure, the team is led by Mike Zimmer, a coach renowned for a defense-always mentality.
Theoretically, the Vikings could probably trade Hunter for a handsome price tag as they did with Stefon Diggs and the Buffalo Bills some 11 months ago. General Manager Rick Spielman flipped Diggs for Justin Jefferson and draft picks that will flush out in this year’s draft.
But no reasonable Vikings loyalist wants to see the end of the Hunter era in Minnesota.
To alleviate this budding calamity, Hunter will necessitate a new, richer contract sooner than later.
18th Highest-Paid EDGE Rusher
Plain and simple – Hunter is the NFL’s 18th highest-paid EDGE rusher per average annual salary. He earns an average salary of $14.4 million each season.
That is not enough.
Of course, it is enough in the grand scheme of life. But for EDGE-rushing walks of life, Hunter is underpaid. If one can subtract his 2020 injury from memory, Hunter is arguably a Top 5 defensive end leaguewide. Los Angeles Chargers EDGE rusher Joey Bosa earns about double the money that Hunter banks. That is not acceptable.
Therefore, when one reads “Hunter is underpaid,” it is not fool’s gold. Comparative to likeminded players at his position, Hunter needs a pay raise – one that instantly careens him into the Top 10 of financial standing among EDGE rushers.
The only gamble for the Vikings is his 2021 health. And make no mistake – that is a ginormous caveat.
An Agent-Driven Ordeal
Hunter is known for an easygoing demeanor, which is especially neat because his on-the-field terror is the inverse. His persona is sugar and spice in that regard.
It is unlikely that Hunter is personally in a lair somewhere pounding oak and demanding a pay increase. It simply does not fit with his modus operandi.
But this is why players have agents. Agents do pound oak. They also stir the pot to create a tasty dinner for their clients. That’s probably what this is. In fact, Hunter’s agent would be a numbskull if he did not realize that his client was grossly underpaid compared to his peers.
Whether it’s an Ian Rapaport tweet, Hunter “liking” posts, or your buddy texting you that Hunter is underpaid – all of this is very likely derived from his agent as the ultimate source. It is a man performing his job – whether onlookers like it or not.
A Trade is Not a Necessary Resolution
A forthright contract extension can be the reconciliation to Hunter’s contract incongruity. Fans mustn’t rush to social media to spitball trade packages – yet. The First Amendment allows them to do so, but it is too early for those chats.
Vikings fans are understandably scarred from Stefon Diggs’ exit in 2020. He went on to excel in western New York, and some individuals still find it criminal that he was allowed to join another NFL team. That, too, is strange because if one year is an adequate trade-winner barometer – then the Vikings held serve at the very least. Justin Jefferson was outstanding in his rookie season, and more is on the horizon. Diggs was phenomenal with the Bills. Each side of the trade can rest easy at night.
When Hunter’s camp sits down to talk cash with Vikings management, a contractual resolution can be reached. It is up to the Hunter side to actually commence such discussions. When they do, it is guaranteed that the Vikings eardrums will be ready.
Enough of the weird social media tomfoolery.