Danielle Hunter is back from another injury and feeling “pretty good”

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Edge rushers Danielle Hunter and Za'Darius Smith will give the Vikings one of the best pass-rushing duos in the NFL if they remain healthy. If. . . .

Smith played only one regular-season game and the Packers’ postseason game last season because of a back injury.

Hunter has played only seven games the past two seasons, missing all of 2020 with a neck injury and sitting out the final 10 games last season after tearing a pectoral muscle.

Hunter spoke to the media Tuesday, his first interview since Sept. 29.

I feel pretty good,’’ Hunter said, via Chris Tomasson of The Pioneer-Press. “Last year’s injury wasn’t as significant as the year before, but it was a three-month recovery. Had we made it to the playoffs, it’s possible I would have been able to come back.

“It’s just good to be back with the guys. . . . It kind of hurts just watching people play.’’

It was “around February or March” when Hunter returned to a regular workout routine.

“The biggest thing was having like the right people around me, just motivating me and keeping me in the right mindset,’’ Hunter said of his recovery.

Hunter had 14.5 sacks in both 2018 and 2019 before his injuries. That production surely is what prompted the Vikings to pick up an $18 million roster bonus on Hunter’s contract, which they converted into a signing bonus to lower his cap number for this season.

“I wasn’t really worried about (the bonus),’’ Hunter said. “My biggest thing was getting through my rehab and coming back playing football.’’

Hunter’s contract runs through 2023, so, after the past two seasons, he faces a big season in 2022. If he can stay healthy, Hunter has a chance to do just that in new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell’s 3-4 scheme.

15 responses to “Danielle Hunter is back from another injury and feeling “pretty good”

  1. What else is he going to say? You’re dealing with a completely new regimen and a near-total rebuild and it’s all hands on deck. The confidence level shown by the players and management personnel alike must always be portrayed as top-drawer….or this isn’t going to work.

  2. “I wasn’t really worried about (the bonus),’’ Hunter said. “My biggest thing was getting through my rehab and coming back playing football.’’
    _______
    There is no lie here

  3. And having DJ Wonnum behind them has to feel pretty good too…. Not overly worried about the linebackers. The other two levels are a bit of a concern though

  4. It was “around February or March” when Hunter returned to a regular workout routine.
    +++++
    What specificity! Guy seems locked in.

  5. He’s feeling pretty good about collecting all that money and not playing.

  6. Odds are one or both won’t finish the season. One with a bad back and the other injury prone.

  7. IF……and I’m hoping IF (again) these two guys can stay healthy it could take us back to the glory days of the Purple People Eaters. With Barr, Kendricks, Smith and Hicks, I believe the Vikings have the talent to run this 3-4 scheme with lethal resutls, dare I say could even be dominant.

    With the addition of Cine and Booth in the secondary the furture looks bright – not bright enough to throw my purple colored sunglasses on just yet. We shall see.

  8. stellarperformance says:
    May 17, 2022 at 11:25 pm
    What else is he going to say? You’re dealing with a completely new regimen and a near-total rebuild and it’s all hands on deck. The confidence level shown by the players and management personnel alike must always be portrayed as top-drawer….or this isn’t going to work.
    —————————————-

    I disagree on the rebuild, the only componets that have changed are adminstrative and coaching. The main pieces are still there as far as players, Cook, Cousins, Jefferson, Thielen, Harrison Smith etc. Its not like what Kraus did with the Bulls – that was a total rebuild. This is just a realignment and implemntation of a new scheme. I’m cautiously optimistic.

  9. Longtimepackerfan says:
    May 18, 2022 at 8:39 am
    Odds are one or both won’t finish the season. One with a bad back and the other injury prone.
    ———————————————

    Odds are the Rodgers won’t win MVP without a number 1 wide out and Aaron Jones being run into the ground or AJ Dillion trying to fill the void. These guys are fresh right now after a season off and had plenty of time to heal from injuries that are not career threatening – stop kidding yourself. There is a reason the Packers picked two defensive players before taking Watson. Without Adams the packers offense is mere mortal…….even if

  10. philmccracken says:
    May 18, 2022 at 2:37 am

    He’s feeling pretty good about collecting all that money and not playing.
    ********
    There’s really nothing else going for him, or anybody else over there in Loserville.

  11. IF they can both stay healthy. IF they can both pick up the new scheme. IF their collective injuries haven’t taken a toll on their performance. That’s a lot of “If”.

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