Bills Urged to Trade for Vikings 2-Time Pro Bowl Defensive End: B/R

Danielle Hunter

Getty Danielle Hunter #99 of the Minnesota Vikings rushes the passer during a game against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium on October 31, 2021.

The Buffalo Bills trade with the Minnesota Vikings to obtain wide receiver Stefon Diggs before the 2020 NFL season was undoubtedly a fantastic move for both the franchise and offensive stud. Now, the Bills are encouraged to finagle another trade with the Vikings, a deal targeting defensive star, Danielle Hunter.

Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton named Buffalo as one of the “top Super Bowl LVII contenders” and by nabbing Hunter, it could be the big move that not only “prevents the Rams from repeating next season,” but also perfectly rounds out the Bills’ defense.

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In exchange for Hunter, Wharton suggests the Bills send the Vikings a 2022 second-round pick (No. 57 overall), and a 2022 fifth-round pick (No. 155 overall).

“The Bills could be interested in Hunter, as they lacked defensive playmaking last season,” Wharton wrote. “Mario Addison was the lone Buffalo player with more than four sacks, as their young stable of defensive ends is more geared toward stopping the run. Recent draft picks Gregory Rousseau and A.J. Epenesa can also slide inside to tackle with a more effective pass-rusher on the edge.”

While it may still feel too soon to discuss the final 13 seconds of the Bills’ overtime playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Wharton believes that if Buffalo had a player like Hunter on the team, that game might’ve ended differently.

“With so few needs on their roster, the Bills would benefit more from an impactful veteran defensive end than a rookie who will need time and opportunity before producing. The Bills were a pass rush away from beating the Chiefs in the AFC divisional round, so trading for Hunter might push them over the top.”

Can the Bills Afford Hunter?

Danielle Hunter

GettyDanielle Hunter #99 of the Minnesota Vikings warms-up before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 26, 2021.

Hunter, a former third-round pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, recorded 29 sacks between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, but the superstar pass rusher missed the entirety of the 2020 season after undergoing surgery to fix a herniated disc in his neck.

As for his contract, ESPN‘s Courtney Cronin reported, “The Vikings reworked Hunter’s contract ahead of mandatory minicamp to give the defensive end $5.6 million of his $12.15 million 2021 base salary as a signing bonus. The restructure also called for an $18 million roster bonus due on the fifth day of the 2022 league year.”

After returning to full health in time for the 2021 season, the two-time Pro Bowler suffered a torn pectoral muscle during the Vikings’ loss to the Dallas Cowboys on October 31, an injury that shut down for the rest of the season. Before getting hurt in Week 8, Hunter had already recorded 22 solo tackles and six sacks.

Hunter is “the perfect buy-low candidate,” Wharton wrote, “considering he’s owed only $6.3 million in base salary over the next two years.” As for why the Vikings would want to part with one of the best players on their roster, Wharton says they’d do it out of necessity.

“The Vikings are at a critical crossroads this offseason,” he wrote. “They can either trade away their veterans for draft assets and reset their cap situation or see if their new staff can push their roster into the playoff mix. Should the Vikings choose to rebuild, contenders should line up for defensive end Danielle Hunter in particular.”

PFF Said a Bills/Vikings Deal for Hunter was a ‘Trade to Watch Out for in the 2022 Offseason’

Pro Football Focus reporter Brad Spielberger also predicted that the Bills may trade for the Vikings star. He suggested Buffalo offers Minnesota up a 2022 fourth-round pick and a 2023 second-pick to land Hunter:

“New Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah now has to navigate a tricky situation with a March deadline quickly approaching — when Hunter’s $18 million 2022 roster bonus is due,” Spielberger wrote. “The roster bonus was added in the 2021 offseason to serve as a trigger date for Minnesota to either extend, trade or cut Hunter… However, it could be too hard for Adofo-Mensah to “sell low” on an elite pass-rusher.

Throughout his first five seasons in the NFL, the LSU alum recorded a total of 54.5 sacks, which made him the fastest player to ever reach 50 sacks.

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