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Lunchbreak: CBS Tabs Hunter as NFL's Most Underrated Player

Danielle Hunter might be the best-kept secret in the NFL. 

The Vikings defensive end racked up 12.5 sacks in his second season in the league, which tied for third among all defensive players in 2016.

The former third-round pick might be starting to gain national notoriety, but Pete Prisco of CBS Sports still believes Hunter is an underrated player.

In fact, Prisco recently tabbed the former LSU standout as the most underrated player in the entire league.

Prisco wrote:

Outside of Minnesota, you would be hard-pressed to find many fans or media members who know much about Hunter.

Here's what you need to know: He might be the next great Vikings pass rusher.

Over their history, the Vikings have had plenty of dominant pass-rushing ends, players like Carl Eller, Chris Doleman and Jared Allen. Hunter isn't in that class yet, and he's probably the second-best defensive end on his team to Everson Griffen, but the potential is there for him to be a 15-sack player with more playing time.

Prisco noted that Hunter could have even ore success if he earns more playing time in 2017.

But Hunter's versatility and athleticism impress Prisco, who noted the defensive end has multiple ways to get to the quarterback.

Hunter doesn't just get sacks with his speed. He has a great power move, knows how to use his hands and can attack the middle of an offensive lineman's chest to win. He did that against D.J. Humphries of the Arizona Cardinals last year to get a sack. He is also athletic enough to win off the edge.

Against the Packers in Week 16, he had a sack when he beat tight end Jared Cook and chased down Aaron Rodgers, but earlier in the game he showed his athletic ability on a third-down play when he dropped out in a blitz and covered Cook to tackle him for a 2-yard gain. He looked like a linebacker on the play.

Add it all up, especially the fact he has only been a part-time player, and it's why Hunter is the league's most underrated player.



Heinicke ready to battle for roster spot

Anthony Harris arrived in Mankato a few days early in order to get extra reps on the practice field. 

The Vikings quarterback is hoping it pays dividends and he's able to secure a roster spot by impressing coaches during training camp and the preseason.

Heinicke chatted with Mark Craig of the Star Tribune about seizing the opportunity after missing all of last year's training camp with an injury.

With Stefon Diggs on the physically unable to perform list to start training camp, Heinicke is battling Case Keenum for the top backup spot behind Kyle Rudolph. Heinicke has yet to play in a regular-season NFL game, while Keenum has four seasons and 24 starts on his resume.

Keenum and Heinicke reported to camp with the rookies on Sunday. They'll drift into the background a bit today as the Vikings' full roster goes through a morning walkthrough and an afternoon practice without pads.

"Every rep counts, so it was good to be down here early," Heinicke said. "You can learn something about what the defense is doing on every rep. It makes you better. It's been good work."

And even though Heinicke is aware he's battling for a roster spot, the 24-year-old said he also tries to learn from his fellow quarterbacks.

Heinicke said he studies the guys up the depth chart to see how they got there.

"Sam is one of the most accurate quarterbacks ever," Heinicke said. "It's kind of unbelievable how he does it. I learn a lot from him. I also was fortunate to learn from Shaun Hill, who was in the league for 15 years. And Teddy has played well. And Case has been a starter, too. So I've got four starters that I can pick their brains."

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