Inside sources reveals Vikings about to sign ‘quality’ pass-rusher from…..

Under defensive coordinator Brian Flores’ guidance, Minnesota Vikings edge rusher Danielle Hunter is experiencing a career comeback and leads the NFL in sacks, but his future is still up in the air.

Before the Vikings’ Week 13 bye, Hunter had 13.5 sacks in 12 games. He is living up to the hype, having become the youngest player in NFL history to reach 50 career sacks in 2019.

Hunter’s camp, however, will work hard to position him as one of the highest-paid stars at his position in the offseason as he becomes a free agent in 2023, given his potential to lead the league in sacks. As a result, the Vikings must decide if they are prepared to offer the 29-year-old a lucrative contract.

Reporter Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune isn’t convinced and thinks Minnesota might go in a different route, which would be to re-sign fourth-year edge rusher D.J. Wonnum.

“I’m not sure if they’ll give a player who will soon turn thirty what Danielle Hunter demands in compensation. Goessling stated as much in a podcast episode of “Access Vikings” released on November 30. “D.J. Wonnum could be a more affordable alternative.” If you want to develop a strong pass rush, is he this team’s best edge rusher? I’m not familiar with that. However, he has improved, in my opinion, and if Brian Flores returns, he will fit right in. Although he is younger, he is the kind of player they want to sign. I could see it if they believe it to be reasonably priced.

Let’s be clear, Wonnum is not the same caliber of player to replace Hunter.

With 6.0 sacks, Wonnum leads the team and has mostly seen an increase in playing time as a result of Marcus Davenport’s injuries. Wonnum is not a top-tier pass-rusher, but he is a good rotational player who should be given consideration for re-signing in the offseason.

He is one of several players who are prospering under Flores’ plan, which has made Josh Metellus and other supporting players into stars. That raises the question of whether the Vikings could continue to bolster their defense by matching Wonnum with a free-agent pass-rusher who is more reasonably priced rather than overspending on Hunter.

On offense, the Vikings are considering extending contracts to Justin Jefferson and Christian Darrisaw as well as re-signing Kirk Cousins, among other lucrative offers.

With the new administration, Hunter has found himself in a similar situation to Cousins: they both adore the player, but the player’s age and cost prevent a long-term agreement. Hunter agreed to terms on a restructured one-year contract this summer at training camp, staging a “hold-in” in the hopes of receiving a new contract. This is another prove-it year for the three-time Pro Bowler.

He’s done just that; but at the expense of potentially pricing out the Vikings if he gets better offers elsewhere.

 What a Danielle Hunter Extension Might Look Like


Danielle Hunter, Vikings

GettyEdge rusher Danielle Hunter of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates after a play during a game against the Detroit Lions in October 2021.


It will be interesting to discuss the terms of Hunter’s future contract in the upcoming months, as he is expected to become the highly sought-after pass-rusher in free agency.

On Monday, November 13, Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report predicted that after a fierce bidding war around the league, Hunter would sign a four-year contract worth $110 million in 2024.

From Knox:

Hunter should interest any team with pass-rushing needs and a fair amount of cap space because he is a scheme-versatile defender. He has experience rushing from the defensive end spot and as a linebacker, although he’s having a career season under first-year Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores.

Flores’ system utilizes a three-man front that allows Hunter to come off the edge as a dedicated pressure man. Disguised blitzes have been a big part of Flores’ strategy this season, and no team has blitzed at a higher rate.

Contract-wise, the four-year, $98 million extension that Montez Sweat just signed with the Chicago Bears is probably a starting point for the 29-year-old Hunter.

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