The Minnesota Vikings crossed another item off their summer checklist by extending 23-year-old defensive end Danielle Hunter to a reported five-year, $72 million extension that will keep him in Minnesota into his prime.
The #Vikings agreed to terms with DE Danielle Hunter on a 5-year, $72M extension, source said. $40M in guarantees. He gets a $15M signing bonus .Big-time money for a budding talent. ????????????
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 27, 2018
The Vikings have now locked up two defensive cornerstones this offseason between Hunter and linebacker Eric Kendricks. Linebacker Anthony Barr and wide receiver Stefon Diggs are still in search of extensions.
Hunter has 25.5 sacks through his first three seasons, more than any other player entering their fourth season. He and counterpart Everson Griffen are second in combined sacks over the past three seasons with 57 — one behind the duo of Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap in Cincinnati.
The former third-round pick recorded 6.0 sacks as a rookie, 12.5 sacks in his second seasons and 7.0 last year as a full-time starter.
Though Hunter’s sack total dipped last season, he was still part of a highly-successful defensive line that did a great job pressuring and containing opposing quarterbacks. Head coach Mike Zimmer likes what he’s seen this offseason from the fourth-year pro.
“His work ethic is undeniably one of the best we’ve been around. I think he has added some more tools to his toolbox as far as his rush,” Zimmer said during mini-camp. “I’ll tell you what, he’s really done a good job of working different techniques, different fundamentals, really working on his pass rush craft. We look forward to keep transferring that over as we keep going through the offseason.”
Hunter’s reported annual salary of $14.4 million puts him just behind Griffen, who makes an average of $14.5 million per season in his four-year, $58 million deal. The contract slots Hunter in above Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt, who signed a five-year, $60 million extension at age 24 last September.