Minnesota Vikings: Danielle Hunter’s contract frustration isn’t justified

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Vikings’ Danielle Hunter is reportedly frustrated with his current contract. But that frustration isn’t justified, given his recent health issues.

Adding to the drama in an already newsworthy offseason in the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings might be joining the list of teams throughout the league who now have a player frustrated with his current situation with his organization.

As the new league year kicked off on Monday, reports began to swirl that Vikings star defensive end Danielle Hunter was unhappy with his contract situation and current role in Minnesota.

According to Chad Graff, who is the Vikings beat reporter for The Athletic, Hunter is unhappy with his current contract and could go as far as holding out or requesting a trade from Minnesota if things don’t change.

Graff reported that Hunter “has grown more discontent” with his five-year, $72 million contract he signed in 2018 and the fact that it leaves the defensive end underpaid compared to others at his position. Graff also adds Hunter is “exploring all of his options” if he is not given a new contract.

The fact that Hunter is displeased or uneasy about his current contract isn’t completely the issue here. But given his situation over the last year or so, the timing of this becoming public is unusual, which makes his current frustration not totally justified or realistic.

Leading into the 2020 season, news broke to the public that Hunter was dealing with a neck injury that he was trying to rehab in order to take the field for Minnesota during the year. The stud defensive end ended up having surgery to repair a herniated disc, holding him out of the entire 2020 campaign.

Hunter is the best player on the Vikings defense and is someone worthy of being paid top dollar at his position. He has the right to demand that kind of money, but the fact that he’s coming off of an injury and surgery that kept him out of an entire year, the timing is just odd.

Prior to him missing the 2020 season, Hunter has put together an impressive career in purple and gold leading the defense. Every season, he has taken a step towards improvement, initially taking the step of moving into a starting role and shortly after emerging as a star in the NFL in just five seasons.

The 26-year-old edge rusher most recently took the field in 2019, which was his fifth season in the league and with Minnesota. The LSU product played in all 16 regular-season contests for the Vikings, recording a career-high 52 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, career-high-tying 14.5 sacks, 22 quarterback hits, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

In his two most recent seasons, the 2018 and 2019 campaigns, Hunter has received a nod to the Pro Bowl while leading the Vikings.

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Hunter is worth a payday that ranks him near the top of the NFL, and that time will come for the star defensive end. But the timing of the frustration on the side of Hunter towards his organization isn’t justified, especially with him coming off of a major season-long injury in 2020.