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Vikings “feel great” about Danielle Hunter, could sign him to long-term extension

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Mike Florio and Chris Simms break down the Minnesota Vikings signing Za'Darius Smith and explain why it's a high-risk move for the franchise given Smith's injury history.

Danielle Hunter’s future with the Vikings has appeared tenuous the past couple of seasons. As recently as a week ago, a report indicated the team was shopping the edge rusher.

But Hunter restructured his contract to help the team sign edge rusher Za’Darius Smith, and new General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said signing Hunter to a long-term extension is an option.

“We feel great where we are with Danielle,’’ Adofo-Mensah said, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “Obviously, that roster bonus was a call to come to the table and get in conversation, dialogue, and we had great conversation with Danielle, his representation Zeke (Sandhu), all members of this organization, and I can say we’re all in a great place. (Hunter) called me from vacation (in Europe) the other day. . . You can hear the urgency, the motivation in his voice to kind of resume where he is as one of the elite players in this league, and we’re excited to have back.”

The Vikings owed Hunter an $18 million roster bonus Sunday, and the team converted that into a signing bonus to clear $13.5 million of cap room. Hunter is under contract for a $4.9 million base salary in 2023.

If Hunter and Smith can remain healthy, the Vikings could have one of the top pass rushing duos in the NFL. Hunter and Smith combined for 202 quarterback pressures and 28 sacks in 2019. But Hunter has had injuries that have limited him to seven games and six sacks the past two seasons and Smith played only one regular-season game and one postseason game last season with the Packers.