Minnesota Vikings’ star pass rusher Danielle Hunter is one of the top names to follow on the trade market as the 2023 NFL season draws closer.
Last week, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported that the defending NFC North champions have received “trade calls” on the soon-to-be 29-year-old, who is entering the final year of his contract.
At Niners Wire, Kyle Madson made the case for the 49ers to try trading for Hunter. Regarding a potential return, Madson proposed the idea of the 49ers sending backup QB Trey Lance and a 2024 fourth-round pick:
“As with all trades, it’ll depend on how many teams are in the mix and what kind of bidding war goes on for his services. The Vikings will likely get a third-round compensatory pick if he leaves, so that’s where the bidding figures to start. A second-round pick in 2024 and perhaps another late Day 2 or early Day 3 pick in 2025 might get it done…
“If San Francisco’s coaching staff and front office have truly seen enough of Lance to believe he won’t be their starter at any point, then it’s easy to see them prioritizing their pass rush, making that move and relying on a Purdy-Darnold-Allen trio to get them through the season.
It’d be a pretty significant risk, but the 49ers have made it clear how valuable they think game-wrecking pass rushers are. Lance and one of the 49ers’ 2024 third-round picks could be enough to get the Vikings in on a trade.”
In the 2018 offseason, Minnesota handed Hunter a massive five-year contract extension worth $72 million. He missed the entire 2020 season and all but seven games in 2021, but Hunter stayed healthy in 2022 and recorded 10.5 sacks en route to his third career Pro Bowl nod.
Despite winning the NFC North with a 13-4 record last year, the Vikings have already moved on from two stars in defensive end Za’Darius Smith (traded to the Cleveland Browns) and running back Dalvin Cook (released last week in a cap-saving move).
Minnesota also parted ways with veteran wideout Adam Thielen (signed a multi-year deal with the Carolina Panthers following his release from Minny)) and cornerback Patrick Peterson (signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency).
Adding Hunter to a front seven that already features 2022 Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa, do-it-all linebacker Fred Warner and free agent pickup Javon Hargrave would be a scary thought for the rest of the league.
But of course, only time will tell if Minny actually trades their top pass rusher.
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