3 Vikings players who could be released ahead of time in 2022

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) Eric Kendricks
(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) Eric Kendricks /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Danielle Hunter /

Danielle Hunter – DE

  • 2022 cap saving: $18.64 million

Although Danielle Hunter is still playing at an exceptionally high level for the Vikings, his lack of reliability from a health standpoint is a real cause for concern. The stud defensive end is currently on the shelf for a second straight season with a pectoral problem that means he won’t be back in 2021, but a discussion needs to be had regarding what comes next for the player and the organization.

Hunter is a dominant figure flying off the edge, and there’s absolutely no denying that. The Vikings relented to his demands for additional cash earlier this offseason to prevent a holdout, but cutting the player loose this offseason represents a cap saving of $18.64 million that simply cannot be ignored with the current financial constraints enveloping Minnesota right now.

If those in power decide to end the Mike Zimmer tenure and start over, they’ll need every cent available. No matter how influential Hunter is, the best ability is availability, and with just seven games in two years under his belt, the former LSU stud doesn’t really justify the whopping $26.12 million salary-cap figure coming his way next season.

Should the Vikings look at this option, then perhaps trading Hunter might be better than removing him from the equation with no compensation in return. Teams across the league are always looking for pass-rushing assistance, so extra draft capital could be acquired to assist with strengthening other areas of the roster.

Hunter’s one of the best in the business when firing on all cylinders. However, things outside of performance on the field play a factor in this particular situation.