EAGAN, Minn. – Danielle Hunter took a break from an overseas trip to chat with new Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.
Adofo-Mensah spoke with Twin Cities media members Wednesday and said Hunter called the GM while on vacation.
"The second you get off the phone with a player like that, you understand why he's a great player," Adofo-Mensah said. "You can hear the urgency, the motivation in his voice to kind of resume where he is as one of the elite players in this league, and we're excited to have him back and ready to get in the fold."
Adofo-Mensah addressed converting Hunter's roster bonus – which was due to be paid March 20 – into a signing bonus as a way to save substantial cap room for Minnesota.
The general manager did not confirm if Hunter had been part of trade talks; he did emphasize, though, what Hunter adds to the roster and expressed excitement around being able to retain him.
"He's a really great player, so you don't just move on from great players very easily," Adofo-Mensah said. "He's someone that's been in this league for a while, produced at a really high level. Great person."
The first-year GM said the Vikings would like to work out a long-term deal with the 27-year-old who's racked up 60.5 career sacks.
Adofo-Mensah mentioned Head Coach Kevin O'Connell and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski among those involved in the collaborative process of building the roster.
"You try to be solutions-oriented with everything you have," Adofo-Mensah said. "You have challenges from all sides. Players have needs, we have needs; just trying to do the best you can for all parties involved. Sometimes that involves doing nothing, staying in the same place, coming back and 'Let's be great together, and we'll figure out things after that.' "
More than once during his media session, Adofo-Mensah said he views the NFL as a relationships-based business, and building a rapport with Hunter is one example of that. The conversation between Adofo-Mensah in Minnesota and Hunter in Europe centered not only on business but also on shared travel experiences and an exchange of stories.
View the best photos of Vikings DE Danielle Hunter from the 2021 season.
Asked if the Vikings would like to ultimately extend Hunter's contract with Minnesota, Adofo-Mensah noted that "every option is on the table" looking ahead.
"He's a great player, so he's somebody that you always want to consider bringing back under contract," Adofo-Mensah said.
He and the Vikings coaching staff are especially looking forward to seeing Hunter work with "a great partner" in newly signed free agent Za'Darius Smith.
The outside linebacker met with media members Tuesday and spoke about joining Hunter in the Minnesota locker room.
"Danielle. Great guy, man," Smith said. "You know, we came out together in 2015 in the draft. So going through the combine and everything, I got a chance to sit down with him. He was an LSU guy, so we always joke back and forth how they beat us when I was with Kentucky.
"Just knowing him and going into the Pro Bowl [after] 2019, I got a chance to sit down with him and talk to him and he was like, 'Man you never know Z. We may end up on the same team,' " Smith continued. "Big shout out to Danielle Hunter, man. I'm happy to be here to get a chance to play with him."