Minnesota Vikings news: Danielle Hunter an ‘artistic technician,’ per Bucky Brooks

Danielle Hunter #99 of the Minnesota Vikings (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Danielle Hunter #99 of the Minnesota Vikings (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks had some good things to say about Minnesota Vikings EDGE Danielle Hunter.

The 2019 Minnesota Vikings boasted the fifth-highest number of sacks, 48, and EDGE Danielle Hunter was a primary reason why.

Hunter’s 14.5 sacks on the season were tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers EDGE, T.J. Watt, for fourth best in the league. And for those who watched Hunter over the course of his career in Minnesota, it shouldn’t be a surprise he’s gotten off to such a prolific start since being selected in Round 3 of the 2015 NFL Draft.

After all, during that five-year span, all Hunter has done was to accumulate an impressive 54.5 sacks. Ever since Minnesota offered him a five-year, $72 million contract extension back in 2018, Hunter has certainly matched his share of the deal.

So, what makes Hunter so special?

According to NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks, Hunter’s innate “artistic technician” abilities are a prime reason why the pass-rusher has been so successful:

"The former third-round pick has quickly joined the ranks of the elite, notching 48.5 sacks over the past four seasons. Hunter has outstanding first-step quickness, and he’s capable of winning with speed or power off the edge. He uses a slippery dip-and-rip maneuver to turn the corner and complements it with a variety of hand-to-hand combat moves that enable him to win with power. Hunter is an artistic technician with a refined game that’s about as polished as you’ll find at the position."

Not surprisingly, Brooks listed Hunter as one of the top-five pass-rushers in the league entering 2020, coming in at No. 3 behind the New Orleans Saints’ Cameron Jordan and the Arizona Cardinals’ Chandler Jones.

But Hunter’s life could be a bit more difficult this upcoming season. His former pass-rushing teammate, EDGE Everson Griffen, opted out of his contract following the 2019 campaign and remains a free agent.

While Hunter is clearly the better player at this point of both players’ careers, Griffen’s complementary pass-rushing production could be missed. And while Hunter has more than enough tools to continue the Minnesota Vikings’ strong pass rush this season, he’ll be under more pressure than ever to deliver.

The good news, however, is Hunter still has plenty of room for development. At 25 years old, he’s only hitting the stride of his prime years at the NFL level. A key point towards Hunter maintaining his level of production will be the Vikings’ two newest additions to the defensive line via the NFL Draft, D.J. Wonnum and James Lynch. While it’s premature to assume both rookies will contribute significantly right away, a solid D-line rotation is always necessary to keep elite pass-rushers fresh.

For Hunter and the Vikings, those two players’ developments will be crucial, too.

Next. Defensive growing pains for the Vikings in 2020?. dark

Still, the Minnesota Vikings can look at Hunter as a key cog to what’s expected to be a solid defense this upcoming season, and he’ll likely be a huge reason why head coach Mike Zimmer and Co. can look at getting back into the playoff picture again in 2020.