As the rumor mill continues to churn and we await the start of the new NFL league year, there has been a rumor that has surfaced concerning the Minnesota Vikings and star defensive end Danielle Hunter.
The rumor has been going around that Hunter. . .who missed all of 2020 a “tweak” in his neck that required season-ending surgery. . .had told the Vikings that he either wanted to be traded or that he wanted his contract re-worked so that he would be the highest-paid defensive end in football, something around the $27 million/year range that Joey Bosa averages.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Vikings’ GM Rick Spielman tried to dump some cold water on that fire.
Spielman said “no” when asked if Hunter has asked the team to make him the highest-paid defensive player or trade him, but otherwise declined to discuss contractual matters. He did say that the team expects to have him back from the injury.
“From all indications of where he’s at in his rehab right now, I saw an Instagram picture of him yesterday. He looked pretty good. Excited to get him back here in the fold and get him going once we get started,” Spielman said.
Now, I know what the immediate reaction to this is going to be: We shouldn’t believe a damn thing that Rick Spielman says about anything at this point (or at any point, really), because (insert reference to Percy Harvin or Stefon Diggs here). But this isn’t really the opportune time for Hunter’s camp to potentially make those sorts of demands.
If Hunter had played all of 2020 and put up another monster season as he had in the previous couple of years? Sure, you could see a reason to possibly re-work his contract, even if it does have three years left on it. But the Vikings don’t strike me as a team that’s going to give a huge chunk of money to someone that’s coming off of a significant injury like the one that caused Hunter to miss all of last year.
So, depending on how much you believe what Rick Spielman says at these press conferences, it doesn’t sound like we should expect there to be issues between the team and their best defensive lineman between now and the start of the 2021 season. Here’s hoping that’s the case.