Vikings: Will Danielle Hunter be back in 2024?

After a 7-10 finish, the Minnesota Vikings are in offseason mode attempting to figure out what the 2024 roster will look like.

On offense, the two most important decisions come down to the future of Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson, and if they can both exist in Minnesota at the same time. On defense, there are a lot of roster decisions to make among a group that vastly improved under Year 1 with Brian Flores.

Linebacker Jordan Hicks is a free agent, we don’t know what the future holds for Harrison Smith and there are other issues to fix in the secondary. But what about edge rusher Danielle Hunter?

He’s eligible to become a free agent in March after spending his first eight seasons in Minnesota. He was a third round pick in 2015, and is already one of the better edge rushers in franchise history.  He’s been to the Pro Bowl in four of the last five seasons, and had 16.5 sacks this year in a season that started with a "hold-in" at training camp. He reported on time, but did not practice until a new contract could be worked out.

He missed the entire 2020 season with a herniated disc in his neck, suffered during training camp. He played the first seven games of the 2021 season before tearing a pectoral muscle.

When healthy, Hunter has proven to be worth the money. He has 27 sacks combined the last two seasons, 87.5 in 90 career starts and 108 tackles for loss. His 16.5 this season were fifth in the NFL.

Hunter earned $3 million in bonus money this year with his sack total, and he’ll get paid by somebody in 2024. But will it be the Vikings? He said after the season he wants to be back, and the Vikings want him back.

If he goes elsewhere, the Vikings will have to find another edge rusher either in the NFL Draft or in free agency. And they'll have to hope D.J. Wonnum can return healthy from a torn quad.