Rick Spielman: Danielle Hunter hasn’t asked to be top-paid defensive player or for trade

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Defensive end Danielle Hunter did not play at all in 2020 because of a neck injury that went from being called a “small tweak” by the team to being the reason for season-ending surgery.

At the time Hunter had that surgery, there was a report from NFL Media that the Vikings would have to decide whether to make Hunter the highest-paid defensive player or trade him before the 2021 season. Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman suggested those were not the only options available to the team at a Wednesday press conference.

Spielman said “no” when asked if Hunter has asked the team to make him the highest-paid defensive player or trade him, but otherwise declined to discuss contractual matters. He did say that the team expects to have him back from the injury.

“From all indications of where he’s at in his rehab right now, I saw an Instagram picture of him yesterday. He looked pretty good. Excited to get him back here in the fold and get him going once we get started,” Spielman said.

Hunter’s current deal runs through 2023 and calls for him to make $12.15 million with a $17.25 million cap hit during the coming season. An extension that falls short of the highest salary for a defensive player — Joey Bosa averages $27 million per year — would bring that hit down, but Spielman’s comments did little to suggest whether that might be on the table.

13 responses to “Rick Spielman: Danielle Hunter hasn’t asked to be top-paid defensive player or for trade

  1. The reporter asked if Hunter had asked for a trade/raise – should have asked if his Agent asked for a trade or raise. So no, Hunter has not asked for a trade/raise…

  2. After missing a season with a neck injury, I don’t see where he has any leverage to ask for anything. In fact, he should be pretty thankful for the deal he has. Come back and prove you are the same plan you were before the injury, then maybe.

  3. Hasn’t asked for the most money or a trade: That’s not how you play the game Danielle.

  4. He can’t ask to be the top paid defensive player . . . he’s not the top defensive player.

  5. He missed all of last season, he’s been seriously injured, he’s under contract for two more years, and he’s not demanding to be the highest paid defensive player? Wow…….that’s really some impressive restraint. How does he hold himself back?

  6. Last time I got 10M plus for sitting on my arse was never…check yo self before you you wreck yo self, Danielle…remember, MN took a flyer on you and helped make you the best…think he knows that and his agent knows jack…especially in a low cap year, dumb move

  7. Having Danielle back is going to ease a lot of the frustration from the young corners and their learning curve.

    If he is healthy and returns to form, he will contribute far more than any player they can get on the open market. He will probably even ease some of the burden of the other pass rushers.

    You don’t want to get into the habit of handing out raises to players every couple years, but if that’s what it takes, you gotta do it for Danielle. Perhaps achievement or playing time bonuses are in order? Vikes don’t want to find themselves in the Raiders shoes of having traded their best pass rushing presence away because of his growing salary cap hit.

  8. cheeseisfattening says:
    March 3, 2021 at 3:44 pm
    Team player not demanding to be the highest paid at his position?
    Yes, what a team player.
    Amazing that he’s not even the best at his position, with two years remaining on his current contract, and he’s not demanding to be the highest paid defensive player in the league.
    What a guy. 🙄

  9. Report: Danielle Hunter isn’t happy with his contract

    Posted by Mike Florio on March 15, 2021, 4:19 PM EDT

    Gosh, what a difference 12 days makes.

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