Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman
Thank you all for coming out this afternoon. First off, I want to thank our ownership group as they continue to provide us with resources to get these types of deals done. Rob Brzezinski and Danielle's agent Zeke Sandhu did and unbelievable job trying to put this all together, and were able to get this finalized earlier this week and it came together finally today. And then Danielle, who's done an outstanding job ever since we've drafted him. A young, talented football player that works extremely hard, shows the passion for the game, comes to work every day to improve and get better, and has so much more upside to grow into. Just looking forward to getting him locked in and what he's going to continue to bring not only to this defense and this football team, but also the type of character that he brings to the Minnesota Vikings. We describe what a Minnesota Viking is, not only what his production is on the field, but what he stands for as a person and as a family man. Finally, I want to recognize Coach Zimmer and his coaching staff for the unbelievable job that they continue to do to develop this young talent as we bring these guys in. With that, I don't have to introduce you again, but I'll bring up our newest extension, Danielle Hunter.
Vikings Defensive End Danielle Hunter
First and foremost, I'd like to give thanks to God. I'd like to thank my family and my parents for being my number one fans and for showing me that there's no substitution for hard work. I'd like to thank the Wilf family, Rob Brzezinski, Rick Spielman, the coaching staff and Coach Zimmer, and my position coaches Andre Patterson and Rob Rodriguez for giving me this opportunity and believing in me.
Q: After coming out of college as a relatively unknown player, what has it been like to progress as fast as you have?
A: I kind of came in with the mindset of just playing football. I had a whole bunch of people in front of me, older guys that were able to show me the way, good coaches and a good coaching staff. The only thing I could do is just come in here and focus and play football.
Q: This extension will take you into your prime as a player. What does that mean to you, knowing where you'll be in five years?
A: I really didn't think that far. I really want to just play football and let my agent deal with that part. Basically, all my focus was on playing football.
Q: Was it important for you to get this done before training camp?
A: That's correct. I had to get this out of the way. I didn't want to be bothered by anything. During OTA's there was a few questions about it, but I wasn't really focused on it then. But now that I have some time to talk to my agent about stuff, we got it out of the way before the season started.
Q: It feels good doesn't it?
A: Yes, it does.
Q: What's it like to play on a defense with so many key players on long term deals?
A: Feels great. We build a bond together on defense. We go out there, we know we're brothers. We fight together. We do our assignments. On and off the field we're really, really close, so it really means a lot.
Q: When you get security like this, how do you stay motivated to keep improving?
A: It's all about keep continuing to improve my game. I got to go out there and do what the coaches tell me to do. Now that I have this I can't relax. I have to keep pounding and grinding.
Q: Do you set goals?
A: My goal is to become a better football player every time I step foot on the football field. That should be everybody's goal.
Q: Will you be buying more meals now?
A: For the family, yes. I'm planning on taking them on a vacation soon, so that'll be nice for them.
Q: How do you view your ceiling considering all you've accomplished already in your career?
A: Like I said, I just got to keep going out there doing my assignments, continue to do what the coaches tell me to do, and continue to improve my game. The main thing is to just go out there and be me, don't try and be anybody else.
Q: Coach Mike Zimmer said he wants you to cut it loose. Are you comfortable in the roles and what's being asked of you that you can play on instinct than thinking?
A: Definitely. It's my third year now and everything is coming along. I'm seeing thing quicker, seeing things faster so my body just naturally reacts. My coach tells me that all the time. Sometimes you go out there and your body just naturally reacts, so that's happening sometimes.
Q: How does it make you feel being a part of one of the most prolific defensive lines in the league and being an integral part, this organization wanted to keep you around for a while?
A: It's a good feeling. Everything we do it's for the whole defense. We go out there and set goals to stop the run first so we're able to rush the passer and we all just play together as one unit when we're out there as a defense and as a defensive line unit.
Q: Are you training in Minnesota this offseason or did you fly in today for this?
A: I flew in today for this. I train down south in Houston.