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Vikings Record Holders Page, Hunter Meet for 1st Time

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. –Two Minnesota Vikings record holders – one past, one present – looked each other in the eye for the first time Thursday afternoon.

In 2016, Danielle Hunter at the age of 22 became the Vikings youngest player to lead the team in sacks. Hunter's 12.5 sacks broke a nearly 50-year record that had previously been held by Hall of Fame defensive tackle Alan Page, who led Minnesota with 8.5 sacks as a rookie in 1967. Page was also 22, but his Aug. 7 birthday precedes Hunter's on Oct. 29.

Both Hunter and Page were on site at Cedar Park Elementary School in Apple Valley, Minnesota, for the Vikings 12th Annual Playground Build. When the two were introduced to each other, they exchanged a mutual expression of respect.

Hunter timidly offered Page a pat on the arm as he smiled and joked, "Sorry that I broke your record."

The Vikings players, coaches, alumni and staff held the 12th annual playground build at Cedar Park Elementary School in Apple Valley on Thursday, June 1.

The younger defensive end said he had long-since known about Page but hadn't had the opportunity to personally interact with the Vikings legend.

"I knew about him, but that was my first time actually meeting him face to face," Hunter said. "I was kind of shocked by it, but at the same time, kind of humbled.

"[I'm just] thankful that I'm able to go in there, able to do what I need to do and just able to keep my mindset on where I need to be," continued Hunter, who was the NFL's youngest player when he was drafted in 2015 at just 20 years old.

A third-round selection, Hunter worked his way into a significant defensive role almost immediately.

Hunter, who had just one sack as a senior at LSU, recorded six in his NFL debut season. After two seasons, he ranks second among all defensive ends from the 2015 draft class in total sacks (18.5), just behind first-round pick Vic Beasley (19.5).

Hunter said he hasn't taken much time to reflect on the rate at which he's developed at the pro level.

"I just go day by day, week by week," Hunter said. "I'm extremely blessed to be on a good team – good teammates, good coaches, that's what it's all about for me."

Page notched 19.5 sacks in his first two NFL seasons and tallied 108 for the Vikings from 1967-78.

In 1988, Page was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Hunter was born six years later.

Decades separate the athletes, but Hunter is honored to be off to an early start following Page's footsteps.

"I just knew he was a good pass rusher – a great pass rusher, actually," Hunter said. "He got inducted into the Hall of Fame."

"So I guess that's a good thing, if you're able to be somebody's record like that," Hunter added good-naturedly.

Page appreciates that he's set benchmarks for a younger generation of Vikings. When asked about having one of his records broken by Hunter, the Hall of Famer chuckled.

"More power to him. Somebody else will [probably] come along and break any more records that I may have," Page said. "That's what those things are for, for somebody to strive to do better."

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