5 Vikings players that should stick around for the 2023 season

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Patrick Peterson
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Patrick Peterson /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Danielle Hunter /

Danielle Hunter – OLB

For each player that the Vikings want to get rid of, they have to find a capable replacement. For example, the Vikings could find a suitable replacement for Adam Thielen and his career-low 1.08 yards per route run. They could also find someone to replace Eric Kendricks, who trailed Saquon Barkley by seven yards throughout the NFC Wild Card loss to the New York Giants.

A lot of players could fall into this category, but one player who shouldn’t is Danielle Hunter.

Hunter got off to a slow start last season but got better as the year progressed. He finished eighth among edge rushers with 76 total pressures and finished 17th in the NFL with 10.5 sacks. These numbers are close to the 13.5 sacks Hunter put up in back-to-back seasons in 2018 and 2019 and even more impressive when you consider that he didn’t even know what he was doing in Donatell’s 3-4 scheme.

Keeping Hunter also makes sense financially as his $13.1 million cap hit is manageable if the Vikings release some of the other veterans on the roster. That number is also cheaper than the alternative as trading Hunter before June 1 would require the Vikings to eat $18.8 million in dead money.

Set to turn 29 next October, Hunter could benefit if the Vikings decide to return to a nickel-heavy or 4-3 scheme. That’s enough value to have him continue to anchor the Vikings’ pass rush and perhaps sign one final contract.