Vikings Urged to Sign $67 Million Star to Keep Him From Landing With Rivals

The Minnesota Vikings letting Danielle Hunter walk in free agency could just be the beginning of their problems with the four-time Pro Bowl edge rusher.

Star Tribune columnist La Velle E. Neal predicted that Hunter, who is reported to have a “very strong market” in free agency, could land with the NFC North rival Detroit Lions or Chicago Bears if the Vikings do not re-sign him.

“This outcome is very possible and likely would torment followers of the Purple. Not only would it mean Hunter departed as a free agent, it’d also mean the dynamic defense end signed within the division,” Neal wrote in a February 17 column. “Detroit’s Aidan Hutchinson or Chicago’s Montez Sweat would be thrilled to add another pass-rushing savant on their lines. And Hunter would have two shots a season to show the Vikings what they are missing.”

ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported on February 10 that the Bears are “very high” on Hunter and have ample cap space to sign the 29-year-old coming off career highs in sacks (16.5), forced fumbles (4), total tackles (89) and tied for the league lead with 23 tackles for loss.

Hunter, whose health came into question after he missed the entire 2020 season with a neck injury and half of the 2021 season due to a torn pectoral injury, has since played every game the past two years.

Neal urged the Vikings to strike a deal on a contract extension with Hunter to avoid the possibility of the Lions or Bears forging one of the league’s most formidable pass rush tandems with Hunter.

Gideon Canice

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