The Minnesota Vikings surprised some fans when they selected LSU defensive end Danielle Hunter in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The position wasn’t one of immediate need and there are some big question marks surrounding his game that could have people thinking that the Vikings may have made a mistake selecting him when they did.
To get some answers to those questions marks, The Viking Age has turned to Joshua Criswell from Fansided’s website for LSU titled Death Valley Voice. He has had the opportunity to watch Danielle Hunter grow and develop at LSU and recently took the time to answer a few questions about Hunter’s jump to the professional level, what to expect from him and some of the things that he may need to work on.
Recently, Joshua Criswell wrote an article over at Death Valley Voice discussing the value that the Vikings got by selecting Danielle Hunter in the third round. It’s a great read, but I still had a couple questions that I wanted to ask him about Hunter after learning that he was joining the Vikings. Here are the questions that I asked Mr. Criswell:
What is the greatest asset that Danielle Hunter brings to the Minnesota Vikings?
"“At 6-foot-5 and just over 250 pounds, Hunter is a very imposing figure coming off of the edge. His prototypical defensive end size is supplemented with incredible athleticism. Hunter ran a 4.57 second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine; a ridiculously fast time for a lineman of his size, and among the best of all defensive ends. He has the ability to completely manhandle opponents with his combination of strength and speed. He is also a great locker room guy, with no red flags.”"
Feb. 10, 2015; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; LSU Tigers defensive end Danielle Hunter during training at EXOS gym in preparation for the NFL combine and draft. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Are there any reasons why Vikings fans should be concerned about this pick?
"“Nothing off-the-field to worry about with Hunter. Extremely high character and plays with a constant motor. His problem is that he relied too much on his athleticism in college, something that has to change in the NFL.”"
What is your overall impression of Hunter as a college football player?
"“Honestly, I thought he underachieved in college. That is probably a byproduct of him coming in with high expectations created by his insane size and athleticism. It hurt his legacy at LSU that he did not reach the same success as other recent LSU linemen like Mingo, Brockers and Sam Montgomery.”"
How do you feel Danielle Hunter will transition to the NFL?
"“As I mentioned in my article and as noted in the quote from it, everything relies on a coach being able to transform him from a raw, athletic and talented player into an NFL lineman. He needs a good coach to help him make the transition seamless.”"
Do you have any final impressions on Hunter that you’d like to tell Vikings fans about?
"“He could be a Pro Bowl player, or he could wash out of the league in four years. It all depends on improving his technique.”"
The impression that I got from this interview is that Danielle Hunter is highly athletic and shows a lot of potential. Potential is a hard thing in the NFL though, because it is not always realized. We’ve seen a lot of players come in to the NFL with tons of athletic ability that could only scratch the surface of what they are capable of.
However, the ceiling seems as high as the floor is low for Danielle Hunter. He’ll have a while to grow and develop with the Vikings under head coach Mike Zimmer. And in the meantime, he can earn his spot on the roster by being a solid special teams player until he’s ready to contribute in other ways.
I’d like to thank Joshua Criswell from Death Valley Voice for taking the time to answer these questions for The Viking Age. Be sure to check out Death Valley Voice for more information on LSU sports and look back at their archives to read more about Danielle Hunter’s time playing football at the college level.
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