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Report: Danielle Hunter not attending start of Vikings’ offseason program

It’s probably contract-related

2023 NFL Pro Bowl Games Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings are starting their voluntary offseason program today, and while the word “voluntary” is one to keep in mind, the offseason program is generally attended by most of the players on the team unless there’s some sort of other issue.

You know, like a contract dispute.

According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Vikings’ outside linebacker Danielle Hunter will not be attending the start of the team’s voluntary program. The reason for this is believed to be the fact that Hunter is set to make $4.9 million this year.

Hunter had a very solid 2022 season after two injury-ravaged years in 2020 and 2021. He had signed a five-year, $72 million extension in 2018. After re-establishing himself this past season, it makes sense to think that Hunter. . .who is still just 28 years old. . .would be looking for a new deal, especially with only around $5 million in guarantees for this season.

I suppose that Hunter could be considered a trade candidate, but given the issues that the Vikings’ defense had last season and that Hunter was one of the players on that unit that wasn’t awful in 2022 (despite Ed Donatell apparently having no idea how to use him), trading him doesn’t make that much sense from the Vikings’ perspective. He’s still a very good player, and teams generally don’t get better by trading away their best players, so I would assume that a contract extension will be coming for #99 sooner rather than later.

However, for now this is a situation to keep an eye on as the Vikings begin their preparations for the 2023 campaign. If anything should change, we’ll let you know about it as soon as we can.