Minnesota has been receiving calls regarding the availability of edge rusher Danielle Hunter, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday on Inside Minicamps on NFL+.
Minnesota's decision to trade Smith to the Browns may have unintentionally signaled to the rest of the league that the Vikings are open for business, prompting some to inquire on Hunter.
After enduring a neck injury that required season-ending surgery in 2020 and a torn pectoral in 2021, Hunter returned and made a statement in 2022, recording 10.5 sacks and earning a third trip to the Pro Bowl. In his seven NFL seasons, Hunter has recorded 71 sacks, 379 tackles (85 for loss) and seven forced fumbles, all logged with the Vikings.
He's still only 28 years old, but is entering the final year of his existing contract and may not be in Minnesota's long-term plans, due in part to the fact the Vikings are facing a possible retooling of the roster that could include quarterback Kirk Cousins, who will still accounts for $28.5 million in cap space in 2024 even if he isn't on the roster.
Simply, there just might not be enough money to keep everyone, and if the Vikings are interested in maximizing their return on Hunter while he still carries value, this summer is the time to do so. Where he'll land remains to be seen, but after the Vikings moved Smith via trade, Hunter could follow him out of the door in a trade made in the best long-term financial interest of the franchise.