6 free agents the Vikings can't afford to lose in 2024

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - New York Giants v Minnesota Vikings
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - New York Giants v Minnesota Vikings / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages
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Vikings Player No. 5:

Danielle Hunter, edge

Speaking of the Danielle Hunter saga, the defensive end/outside linebacker was re-signed on July 30 to a one-year contract. In other words, the Vikes will have to do all this over again in less than a year. Unless he completely falls on his face this season, Minnesota shouldn’t think twice about re-signing Hunter long-term in 2024.

In 2022, Hunter played in all 17 games and led the Vikings' defense in sacks with 10.5. This was a good sign because he had missed all of 2020 and most of 2021 with injuries. Before 2020, Hunter was one of the best pass rushers in the game, netting 14.5 sacks in both 2018 and 2019. That led to Pro Bowl selections in both years.

On one hand, a case could be made for why Minnesota was slow to give Hunter the money he wanted. After all, he only played in seven games over two years. However, the fact that he finally returned and posted double-digit sacks in 2022 gives credence that he has healed nicely.

Minnesota already traded away Za’Darius Smith, who ended ‘22 right behind Hunter with 10 sacks, to Cleveland. If the team doesn’t re-sign Hunter next year, it will leave a gaping hole on the Vikings’ defensive line.