Danielle Hunter – OLB
Vikings fans have been disappointed with Danielle Hunter‘s production this season after the stellar numbers they saw from him when he was last fully healthy. The thing is, Hunter is actually having a nice season, and though he didn’t put up the same numbers as fellow edge rusher Za’Darius Smith this past game, he still found ways to contribute to the victory.
Hunter is more the Robin to Smith’s Batman so far this season, but the two of them combined are wreaking havoc for opposing offenses.
Hunter was tied for the team lead in pressures on Sunday with four, but he failed to produce a sack. It was a hard task trying to take down one of the most elusive quarterbacks in the NFL in Kyler Murray, but being able to get Murray under pressure is still a success.
With teams unable to focus all their attention on either Hunter or Smith, one of them is bound to feast in games, and at this point in the season, it has been Smith by a large margin. But having such a dominant presence as Hunter on the opposite side is certainly opening opportunities up for Smith, and as long as someone gets to the quarterback, it’s not important on individual stats.
The duo of Smith and Hunter rank fourth in the NFL for edge-rushing duos, according to PFF, and it’s not just Smith who is putting them that high in the rankings. Hunter is getting acclimated to a new defense after missing major playing time the past two seasons, and it’s becoming more clear that he’s starting to get back into a grove.
While Smith is having a stellar year, let’s not act like he’s doing it alone. Hunter is still a stud off the edge, and he’s only gaining more speed as the year moves on.