It’s becoming increasingly rare in the modern NFL era for an elite player to wear just one team’s jersey his entire career — but one NFL analyst argues that the Minnesota Vikings should try to lock down defensive end Danielle Hunter.
NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt listed 12 players in the league whose teams “should never let them leave.” He had this to say about Hunter:
“By the time your average top-tier veteran is ready to sign his third NFL contract, his team is often ready to move on to younger, cheaper talent. But that shouldn’t be the case with Hunter, who entered the NFL in 2015 at 20 years old and recently became the youngest player in NFL history to reach 50 sacks, accomplishing the feat at the age of 25 years and 40 days. Hunter also loves being in Minnesota, which is evident in the fact that he didn’t try to leverage the team for every penny before signing the five-year, $75 million extension he’s currently playing on. He should be cashing in again with the team at some point down the road.”
Hunter, who will be 28 years old when his current contract expires in 2023, will be expecting a major payday as he’s proven to be worth much more than his third-round price tag back when he was drafted and recently restructured his contract to help the team this offseason.
Brandt selected the list under the conditions that all players must be under 30 years old and he cannot repeat positions, meaning he sees Hunter as the best defensive end in the NFL.
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Hunter’s a Dark Horse for Defensive Player of the Year
Hunter currently has the ninth highest odds of winning Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) in 2020, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Despite his growing recognition in the NFL, Hunter is still regarded as one of the league’s most underrated players, making him a value bet, Lineup.com’s Jason Guilbault wrote:
Danielle Hunter is sitting at +2300, and is one of the top pass rushers in the game. He has had 14.5 sacks in each of the last two seasons. Overall his pass rushing abilities are top notch, and has had 54.5 sacks over his five year career. Hunter is not as notable as a name in comparison to the names above, but his pass rush upside is there. If he can get closer to 17-18 sacks, we are looking at Hunter moving up in terms of odds. Hunter also generates some tackles, as he has over 140 in the last two seasons, and you don’t see that too often from a defensive end.
Guilbault had Hunter listed as one of his favorite values last year, saying “if he can generate some turnovers and fumbles, which he hasn’t quite done yet, he is a dark horse pick to take home” DPOY. Last year, Hunter forced a career-high three fumbles and recovered another for his most turnovers in a single season.
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