Danielle Hunter announced his presence to the NFL in a big way in 2018 as he racked up 14.5 sacks, a number that tied for fourth in the league.
And he did it as one of the league’s top young players. The Vikings defensive end turned just 24 years old in late October.
Those around the league have taken notice, as Pro Football Focus recently listed Hunter as one of its top 25 players under the age of 25. Hunter has been placed on similar lists before.
Mark Chichester of PFF created this list and had high praise for No. 99.
Danielle Hunter has, in his own right, earned the right to be in the conversation about the league’s best young pass rushers. His 190 pressures since 2016 are tied with Frank Clark for the 11th-most among all edge defenders in that span, while his 8.0 pass-rushing productivity rating ranks 15th among the 90 edge defenders with at least 500 snaps.
Hunter, a third-round pick out of LSU in 2015, already has four seasons under his belt and leads all players from his draft class with 40 career sacks.
He has recorded a pair of double-digit sack seasons (2015 and 2018). He also has two career touchdowns, both of which came on fumble recoveries.
Hunter earned Second-Team All-Pro honors in 2018 and also made his first Pro Bowl appearance.
Chichester’s list had a defensive flavor, as 16 of the 25 players are on the defensive side of the ball.
King has Vikings ranked 10th in offseason power rankings
Organized Team Activity practices start next week for the Vikings, meaning the team is one step closer to the 2019 season.
And while there is still a lot to be figured out before Minnesota’s Week 1 opener against Atlanta on Sept. 8, veteran football writer Peter King believes the Vikings will be a competitive bunch.
King recently put out his offseason power rankings in his weekly Football Morning in America column, and has the Vikings slotted in the 10th spot among all 32 NFL teams.
King noted that the Vikings need to build off quarterback Kirk Cousins’ first season in Minnesota and find a way into the postseason.
[Cousins’] numbers were exquisite — 70 percent passing, 4,298 yards, a 30-to-10 TD-to-interception ratio. But the Vikings, as it turned out, needed to win three of their five December games to make the playoffs. They won two. In the three losses, they fell behind New England 10-0, Seattle 21-0 and Chicago 13-0 … and Cousins led three touchdown drives in 32 total possessions in those games.
Put simply, he’s got to play better in the big spot to justify $84 million guaranteed in three years. There’s nothing particularly analytical or deep about that, but it is the truth. One X factor in Cousins’ favor: His offensive line was awful last year, and two-thirds of the interior has been rebuilt this spring — with free-agent guard Josh Kline from Tennessee and first-round center Garrett Bradbury from North Carolina State.
In 2019, Cousins became the only player in NFL history to throw for 4,000-plus yards and complete at least 70 percent of his passes while throwing at least 30 scores and 10 or fewer picks.
Minnesota went 8-7-1 and missed the playoffs a year after going 13-3, winning the NFC North and advancing to the NFC title game.
The Vikings were the sixth NFC team listed in King’s rankings behind the Rams, Saints, 49ers, Eagles and Bears.