Everyone that’s been paying attention this season knows just how good Minnesota Vikings’ defensive end Danielle Hunter is. Second in the NFL with 11.5 sacks, Hunter is having a monster season after signing a big contract extension this offseason. Making Hunter’s rise to stardom that much greater is the fact that he is still incredibly young, as he only turned 24 last month.
Behind the great ESPN paywall, the folks from Bristol have put together their annual list of the best players in the National Football League that are younger than age 25. It’s absolutely no surprise that Hunter is on the list, and it also shouldn’t be surprising how high up on that list he is.
According to ESPN’s list, Hunter is the eighth-best player in the National Football League age 25 or younger. However, the seven players that are listed above him are all offensive players (five running backs, one quarterback, and one wide receiver), so Danielle Hunter has truly been classed as the best young defensive player in the National Football League by ESPN.
This makes Hunter the best young defensive player in the league -- or at least among the best. His 37 career sacks are 11 more than any other current player younger than 25 can claim.
”He’s a complete player who plays the run and is a difference-maker,” a personnel director said. “He has already developed a great deal and has a long way he can still go.”
Sadly, Hunter is the only member of the Vikings to make ESPN’s under-25 list. They point out that wide receiver Stefon Diggs likely would have been on the list, but his 25th birthday is actually today (Happy Birthday, Stefon!), which makes him ineligible for this list. . .it’s “under-25,” not “25-and-under.”
Danielle Hunter is already among the NFL’s best defensive player, and there’s a really good chance he hasn’t even approached his ceiling yet. It’s probably a good thing the Vikings got him that extension this offseason like they did. . .could you imagine how much he’d demand on the open market if he were a free agent this March?