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Vikings Trade Down, Like Hunter's Upside

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — "Tag," Danielle Hunter, "you're it."

The Vikings selected Hunter, a defensive end out of LSU, with the 88th overall pick of the third round after trading from 76th to 80th and swapping again to gain additional picks for Saturday's finale of the three-day event.

Hunter said he has played with his hand in the ground for six years and was introduced to football when he was in fifth grade.

"Before I was playing football, I was just a kid on the streets, playing tag with my friends," Hunter said during a conference call with media. "I was just a wild child. I got into football around fifth grade. I was chasing some kids in skates and his dad happened to be a football coach. They introduced me to football."

He was asked for clarification, "You were chasing a kid in skates and you caught him?"

"Yeah, I did. I started out playing running back at first," Hunter confirmed.

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said team officials met with Hunter at the NFL Combine. He and Defensive Coordinator George Edwards worked him out at LSU's Pro Day.

"I just wanted to show them that I had the ability to do anything," Hunter said. "I feel like I did that with multiple coaches because they said I'm very athletic and that I have a lot of upside."

Spielman praised Hunter's character and physical traits even if they haven't been fully developed yet and has "tremendous upside."

"He's a physical specimen – he's 6'5" and change, weighed 252 pounds, we measured his arms at 35 and a half, I think he had a 10-10 broad jump, which is extremely unique for his size and his position," Spielman said. "I think he was a 36.5 inch vertical jump. He plays extremely hard, he's raw, he's a project that I know that we're going to have to work with."

Spielman said he's seen the way that Head Coach Mike Zimmer, Edwards and defensive line coach Andre Patterson develop players with such traits.

"We feel that he has tremendous upside to grow as a football player," Spielman said. "It's another guy that I know Coach Zimmer loves to work with athletic guys that have length."

Hunter, who was born in St. Catherine, Jamaica, played high school football at Morton Ranch in Katy, Texas, and enrolled at LSU in 2012 and started 23 of the 38 games he played for the Tigers.

Hunter opted to declare for the draft early and finished his career with 142 tackles, 21.0 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, eight pass breakups, seven quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and scored on a 25-yard fumble return. He had a career high 12 tackles (most by a defensive lineman since Glenn Dorsey in 2006) against Auburn and led LSU with 10.0 tackles for loss in 2014.

Hunter's first name is pronounced "Duh-neal."

In addition to receiving the 80th pick from Kansas City, Minnesota also received a sixth-round pick (193rd overall) from the Chiefs.

By sending the 80th pick to Detroit, the Vikings obtained the 88th pick that was used on Hunter and a fifth-round (143rd overall).

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