The Minnesota Vikings need to make a big decision about one of their best players, and they need to make it very soon.
With a tricky salary cap situation to deal with, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and company need to decide what to do with defensive end Danielle Hunter. Hunter has an $18 million roster bonus that vests on Sunday, and while they don’t necessarily have to do anything, doing something before that deadline could help to increase their roster flexibility.
Rumors have been swirling on social media that the Vikings are actively trying to trade Hunter, but that makes just about no sense. You don’t get better by dumping your best players, especially when those players are 27-year-old pass rushers that have shown themselves to be among the league’s elite when they’re healthy. Yes, Hunter has had to deal with injury concerns over the past two seasons, but before that he had established himself as one of the NFL’s best pass rushers.
The only way that the Vikings should even consider dealing Danielle Hunter away is if a team offers an absolutely ludicrous amount of capital for him. When the Oakland Raiders traded Khalil Mack to the Bears back in 2018, the deal looked like this:
- Bears receive: Mack, 2020 second-round pick, 2020 fifth-round pick
- Raiders receive: 2019 first-round pick, 2019 sixth-round pick, 2020 first-round pick, 2020 third-round pick
That’s the sort of thing you’d have to receive from a team to even consider dealing Hunter, in my opinion. If a team isn’t willing to offer something that substantial, there’s no reason to even listen, honestly.
The easy thing for the Vikings to do in this case would be to convert that $18 million roster bonus into a signing bonus. That would enable them to spread it out over the remaining four seasons on Hunter’s contract and save them $13.5 million on this year’s salary cap. Teams don’t have to ask a player’s permission to make such conversions, and it would still allow the two sides to continue negotiating a new deal for Hunter if that’s the desired end point for things.
We’ll see if the Vikings take any sort of drastic action with Danielle Hunter’s contract before his roster bonus vests on Sunday. Hopefully, whatever action it is, it will involve Hunter staying in purple for the foreseeable future.