Vikings: Danielle Hunter remains out of training camp practice while seeking deal

The Minnesota Vikings are welcoming fans back to training camp at TCO Performance Center in Eagan on Saturday as part of the NFL’s Back Together weekend.

There remains one notable absence when the Vikings take the practice field: Outside linebacker Danielle Hunter. The veteran edge rusher reported to training camp on Tuesday with other veterans, but has yet to see the practice field. Kevin O’Connell said before Saturday afternoon’s practice that Hunter is at the team facility, and has his own schedule.

As the Vikings enter Day 4, Hunter has not been on the field even in a spectating capacity. It’s likely to stay that way until Hunter can get a new contract. Reports emerged Saturday that the Vikings are open to trading Hunter if they can't work out a new deal.

"We’re still kind of in that ongoing process daily where Danielle is in the building. I’m having daily dialogue personally with him, and my hope is that we continue to work towards, over the course of a long training camp, Danielle has played a lot of football, he’ll be ready to go. But my hope is we can work towards him being out on the practice field with us sooner rather than later," O’Connell said. "I have not tried to hide my feelings, Danielle Hunter is a very special player and as soon as we can get him out here, you guys will see him out here and our fans will see him out here."

Hunter is due $5.5 million in 2023, which is vastly underpaid for the value he brings to the Vikings. Reports emerged Saturday morning that teams are engaging in trade conversations for Hunter if Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and the front office can’t work out a deal to get him more money.

Hunter had 10.5 sacks last year in 17 games, his first fully-healthy season since 2019. He missed all of 2020 with a herniated disc in his neck, and played the first seven games of 2021 before suffering a torn pec.

Hunter is the fastest player in NFL history to amass 50 career sacks in his first five seasons. He’s one of the most dominant edge rushers in the league, when healthy.

"We continue to work towards that positive outcome, positive solution. Having 99 in purple would be my choice on that," O’Connell said.

O’Connell didn’t offer much detail when it comes to what Hunter is doing while the team practices. But he is talking to Hunter daily.

"I think there’s a lot of aspects of it when you really start communicating with the player. For the most part just the idea of making sure we use the time that we have so that not only we feel really good about his personal situation, but more importantly Danielle feels really good about that situation," O’Connell said. "A lot goes into it."


The first practice open to fans was also "Family Day" for the Vikings at TCO Performance Center, with families of players and staff there for the workout. Former Vikings’ defensive tackle Pat Williams and linebacker Dontarrious Thomas also watched Saturday’s practice.

  • It was a big day for Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson, who connected for a pair of long touchdowns in team situations. Cousins hit Jefferson over Akayleb Evans and Cam Bynum, ran in for the touchdown and did a Griddy in front of fans.
  • Cousins later hit Jefferson on a long touchdown down the middle of the field, over Andrew Booth Jr. and Mekhi Blackmon. He took a bow after the score.
  • It was a busy day for the Vikings’ secondary, with four interceptions. Booth picked off Cousins. Lewis Cine jumped a route and intercepted Nick Mullens for his first turnover of training camp. Blackmon and NaJee Thompson intercepted rookie Jaren Hall.
  • Offensive linemen Jacky Chen and Alan Ali led the first "Skol" chant with fans at the start of practice.

The Vikings are now off Sunday and put the pads on for the first time at TCO Performance Center on Monday.