Over the past few seasons, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter has developed into one of the best all-around defensive linemen in the National Football League. Given his relative youth. . .he still doesn’t turn 25 until November. . .it’s no surprise that he’s on the latest list of the best young players in the league as well.
Pro Football Focus has released their list of the 25 best players in the NFL that will be under age 25 when the 2019 season starts, and Hunter is one of four edge defenders to make the list. Here’s what PFF had to say about him:
Like (Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick) Ngakoue, Danielle Hunter has, in his own right, earned the right to be in the conversation about the league’s best young pass rushers. His 190 pressures since 2016 are tied with Frank Clark for the 11th-most among all edge defenders in that span, while his 8.0 pass-rushing productivity rating ranks 15th among the 90 edge defenders with at least 500 snaps.
Last offseason, Hunter was one of a number of players that the Vikings locked into a long-term contract, signing him to a five-year extension worth $72 million. That gives him the second-highest cap hit on the Minnesota roster for 2019 at $13.5 million, but even that number is going to look more and more like a bargain if Hunter continues on the trajectory he’s on.
The downside. . .I guess, if you can call it that. . .is that Hunter is so young that by the time his current huge contract ends, he’s only going to be 28 years old and, in all likelihood, is going to be looking at another huge contract, whether it’s from the Vikings or someone else. For now, though, the Vikings have one of the best young edge defenders in the NFL to build around, and he probably hasn’t even come close to hitting his peak yet.