The Danielle Hunter saga has its temporary conclusion. Just hours after it was reported that Hunter would be attending Vikings minicamp this week, he now has a reworked deal for 2021. The Vikings are giving him $5.6 million of the money he was due this year as a signing bonus, and have created an $18 million roster bonus for the fifth day of the 2022 league year, per Ian Rapaport of NFL Network.
What this essentially does is delay a long-term decision on Hunter and his contract until next season, when he'll only have two years remaining on his current deal. If Hunter has a big season, proving that he's fully recovered from the neck injury he suffered last year, the Vikings will likely be more than happy to give him a huge extension that places him among the highest-paid edge rushers in the league.
However, they'll also have the option to guarantee the roster bonus and pay him around $20 million in 2022, or to release him and let him test the open market.
This feels like a move that works out well for both sides. Hunter gets money up front, which offers some protection in case he gets injured this season. He also has some flexibility heading into negotiations next spring. Meanwhile, the Vikings avoid the risk of giving him a long-term deal without seeing how he looks after missing all of last season, and they also avoid setting the precedent of giving someone a new deal with three years remaining on their current one.
After a long saga, the focus can now turn towards football and the 2021 season. Hunter will report to minicamp this week and begin preparations for the season, with training camp roughly six weeks away. Any drama regarding contract stuff has now been pushed to next March, when the Vikings will be able to make a decision based on how Hunter looks this year.
That's a win-win.
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