Vikings Pro Bowler to skip out on offseason program due to contract |

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The Vikings have several disgruntled players to deal with this offseason, one of them being a young and ambitious Pro Bowl defender.

The Minnesota Vikings’ future balances precariously on what the franchise decides to do with their key roster pieces this offseason: Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Za’Darius Smith, and Danielle Hunter, among others.

The Vikings did some of the hard work by cutting a plethora of cap casualties earlier this year, but the work only gets harder when it comes to figuring out their stars’ contractual situations.

For Hunter, the 28-year-old is entering the final year of a five-year, $72 million deal he signed back in 2018, and he’s obviously not very happy with what he’s set to make in 2023.

His base salary for this season is a measly $4.9 million, and he also carries a $13.1 million cap hit that ranks 17th among edge-rushers.

He joins Cook as two of the Vikings’ biggest stars vying for a new lucrative deal, and part of his tactics to convince Minnesota’s brass to give him a monster extension may include holding out this offseason.

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Hunter is not expected to attend the Vikings’ voluntary offseason program. The key word there is “voluntary,” so Vikings fans shouldn’t get too concerned yet.

Still, is this an ideal situation? No, it is not.

Vikings edge-rusher Danielle Hunter plans on skipping offseason workouts

Hunter misses out on a $100,000 bonus by skipping OTAs, yet he’s likely just playing the long game by plucking the front office’s nerves. The 2015 third-round pick has missed a handful of seasons due to injuries but has nonetheless grown into an elite pass-rusher during his time in Minnesota.

As the youngest player to reach 50 career sacks, Hunter’s ability to terrorize quarterbacks makes him a valuable piece of the Vikings defense, and from a contract perspective, the team is incentivized to extend him, too.

Per Spotrac, Hunter has roughly $11 million in bonuses written into void years in his contract that will kick in after the 2023 season. If the team releases him, they’ll have to eat all that dead money.

Besides, one could easily make the argument that he’s been perennially underpaid compared to the market value of his position, and a potential new deal could look like a multi-year contract that pays him around $20 million a year.

That, or the Vikings trade him. Either way, Hunter has made his stance in Minnesota clear.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

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