With just days remaining to the start of the new league year and the Minnesota Vikings still needing to get in compliance with the cap, there are reports of teams sniffing around one of the team’s more valuable assets.
Multiple teams have inquired about the trade availability of Pro Bowl DE Danielle Hunter, per sources. While the Vikings aren't believed to be actively shopping Hunter, multiple execs believe he's available due to cap issues ($15.7M over), Hunter's $18M roster bonus due March 20— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 12, 2022
According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, “multiple” teams have inquired about the availability of defensive end Danielle Hunter. As Fowler points out, Hunter has an $18 million roster bonus due in about a week, a provision that came about as part of the contract renegotiation he did with the team last year when he was reportedly unhappy.
In 2019, Hunter set a new benchmark for quarterback sacks by a player before the age of 25. However, it’s been a rough go for Hunter since then. He missed the entire 2020 season after a “tweak” he suffered in his neck during the preseason caused him to miss the entire year, and he played just six games this past season before suffering a season-ending torn pectoral muscle.
Hunter currently carries the highest salary cap figure of any player on the roster not named Kirk Cousins. That figure, according to Over the Cap, is $26,120,000. If the Vikings were to cut him or trade him, they would incur a dead cap hit of $11.48 million but they’d save around $14.6 million. If he was designated as a post-1 June cut, they would save $20 million while incurring a dead money hit of just over $6 million.
The Vikings could also seek to re-do Hunter’s deal again in an effort to lower his cap hit, but there’s no indication as to whether or not Hunter and his camp would be agreeable to something like that. As friend of the DN Nick Olson points out on Twitter, the Vikings could also convert Hunter’s roster bonus into a signing bonus and save about $13.5 million in salary cap space.
On the surface, the idea of trading Danielle Hunter seems absolutely ludicrous. We saw last year that he’s a difference-maker when he’s on the field. . .he just hasn’t been on the field much over the course of the past two seasons. Hopefully the new front office and Hunter’s representatives can hammer something out that does not involve seeing #99 depart for a new team.