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What is PFF seeing to snub Vikings' Danielle Hunter and his elite numbers?

Hunter has been dominant for the Vikings this season but is being overlooked nationally

While Danielle Hunter leads the league in sacks and tackles for loss this season, the Vikings pass rusher was snubbed from a recent Pro Football Focus midseason award.

The Vikings pass rusher was not listed in either of PFF's first or second teams on their midseason All-Pro teams. Cleveland's Myles Garrett and San Francisco's Nick Bosa were first team selections, with Pittsburgh's T.J. Watt and Las Vegas' Maxx Crosby as second team selections by PFF.

From a simple glance at the stats it's quite a mystery how Hunter isn't above those four.

Sack Totals

  1. Danielle Hunter - 10.0
  2. Max Crosby - 9.5
  3. Myles Garrett - 9.5
  4. T.J. Watt - 9.5
  5. Nick Bosa - 3.0

Tackles for Loss Totals

  1. Danielle Hunter - 13
  2. Maxx Crosby - 13
  3. Myles Garrett - 8
  4. T.J. Watt - 8
  5. Nick Bosa - 6

Forced Fumbles Totals

  1. Myles Garrett - 4
  2. Danielle Hunter - 3
  3. T.J. Watt - 2
  4. Maxx Crosby - 1
  5. Nick Bosa - 0

So, Nick Bosa is last in all categories but somehow is selected over Hunter? Here's what PFF had to say about their two first team selections:

Myles Garrett

The front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year at this stage of the season, Garrett leads all defensive players with a 93.3 PFF grade. He has racked up 39 pressures from 219 pass-rushing snaps and has forced four fumbles on the year.

Nick Bosa

With 44 pressures from 279 pass-rushing snaps, Bosa has been an efficient pass-rusher, even if he hasn’t managed to convert a high percentage of those pressures into sacks. He’s a standout against the run, too, with his 80.5 PFF run-defense grade ranking sixth at the position.

Ok, so where does Hunter rank in all of those categories PFF used for their choices?

PFF Defensive Grade

  1. Myles Garrett - 93.3
  2. Nick Bosa - 92.0
  3. Maxx Crosby - 91.7
  4. T.J. Watt - 91.2
  5. Danielle Hunter - 74.8

Pressures on Pass Rush Snaps

  1. Maxx Crobsy - 53 (336 pass rush snaps) (15.7% efficiency)
  2. Nick Bosa - 44 (279) (15.7%)
  3. Myles Garrett - 39 (219) (17.8%)
  4. T.J. Watt - 39 (309) (12.6%)
  5. Danielle Hunter -  35 (318) (11%)

PFF Run Defense Grade

  1. Maxx Crosby - 91.2
  2. T.J. Watt - 81.4
  3. Nick Bosa - 80.5
  4. Myles Garrett - 73.9
  5. Danielle Hunter - 49.8
Oct 29, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) strip-sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) in the game at Lambeau Field.

Oct 29, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) strip-sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) in the game at Lambeau Field.

Just by those numbers alone it makes sense why PFF, in their own midseason awards, has chosen to "snub" Danielle Hunter.

Putting the grades aside, the efficiency numbers are quite eye opening and down to a multitude of reasons that play into each other. With Marcus Davenport's injury knocking the only other real pass rushing threat out for a significant portion of the season, Hunter is left on an island by himself for opponents to try and shut down.

Not helping Hunter's efficiency is the surprising amount of three-man pass rushes the Vikings are sending. According to ESPN's Kevin Seifert, the Vikings lead the league in three-man pass rushes with 6.5-per-game.

Those three-man rushes leave five offensive lineman to block three Vikings rushers. It doesn't take Josh Dobbs' aerospace engineering degree to understand who is getting the most attention from opposing lineman when it's just Hunter, Harrison Phillips and D.J. Wonnum rushing.

Those undermanned pass rushes are seeing Hunter's pass rush win rate take a hit, though he's never really had a high win rate, outside of a limited sample size in 2021. Hunter's 14.7-percent win rate is the second lowest of the group, only ahead of T.J Watt.

Pass Rush Win Rate

  1. Myles Garrett - 26.2%
  2. Nick Bosa - 23.1%
  3. Maxx Crosby - 18.1%
  4. Danielle Hunter - 14.7%
  5. T.J Watt - 13.5%

What's the difference then between Hunter and Watt? Hunter has 37 more pass rush attempts and only four more hurries while Watt has eight more QB hits than the Vikings pass rusher.

Looking further into PFF's grades, Hunter is the only member of the five in question that has a sub-80 pass rush grade.

PFF Pass Rush Grade

  1. Myles Garrett - 94.6
  2. Nick Bosa - 91.6
  3. Maxx Crosby - 90.0
  4. T.J. Watt - 88.8
  5. Danielle Hunter - 74.5

Say what you want about the PFF grades, but that's a sizeable gap.

"He's never really gotten quite as much credit as some of the other guys, even though the result ends up being they both have that many sacks," said Purple Insider’s Matthew Coller. "If you're going to tell me that a guy is going to have double-digit sacks every year, that is a huge impact towards winning."