The 2022 Minnesota Vikings produced 13 wins, one playoff loss, and seven Pro Bowlers.
When the week began, that number was six but grew to seven when Danielle Hunter was awarded a Pro Bowl spot on Monday. The Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling tweeted, “Danielle Hunter was named to the Pro Bowl Games this weekend. The Vikings edge rusher replaces the Eagles’ Haason Reddick, who’s preparing for the Super Bowl.”
7th Vikings Player Earns Pro Bowl Nod
It’s the third Pro Bowl selection for Hunter, who the Vikings selected in the 3rd Round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Each year during the initial Pro Bowl voting process, the league selects “alternates” to attend the event in case of injury or Super Bowl preference. And this season, Reddick from the Eagles — an absolute gamebreaker in the NFC Championship last weekend — will play in the Super Bowl, so Hunter is the next man up.
Hunter is the seventh Viking to earn Pro Bowl kudos for the 2022 season, joining these men already attending Allegiant Stadium this weekend:
- Dalvin Cook (RB)
- Kirk Cousins (QB)
- Justin Jefferson (WR)
- T.J. Hockenson (TE)
- Za’Darius Smith (OLB)
- Andrew DePaola (LS)
Last week, the NFL tabbed Cook for the honor after Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard was excluded because of injury. So, that’s two alternates this year for the Vikings, on top of five organic selections. It’s the most Vikings Pro Bowlers since 2019, when the franchise sent eight men to the event.
The Vikings, of course, fell short in the postseason, losing to the New York Giants at home in the Wildcard Round. But Hunter was fantastic throughout the regular season, tabulating 65 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 3 passes defended, and 1 forced fumble.
Hunter also registered an 87.1 Pro Football Focus grade in 2022, the seventh-best in the NFL among EDGE rushers behind Myles Garrett (92.5), Micah Parsons (91.8), Nick Bosa (90.6), Brandon Graham (90.1), Maxx Crosby (90.1), and Jaelan Phillips (88.8).
A member of the Vikings for eight seasons, Hunter’s future with the club could be in jeopardy. Hunter’s $13.1 million cap hit scheduled for 2023 ranks 25th in the NFL per EDGE rusher salary, a mark that he probably wants to see rectified. But Minnesota is currently strapped for cash, and it is unclear how extensive its cap-cutting measures will be. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah must pay wide receiver Justin Jefferson and tight end T.J. Hockenson this offseason, and how much of the pie is left for Hunter is to be determined.
Hunter missed all of 2020 with a neck injury and 59% of 2021 with a torn pectoral muscle. Bouncing back at age 28 for another Pro Bowl run is quite the accomplishment, as many wondered if he’d succumb to injuries for a third consecutive year.
According to Stathead, the LSU alumnus also ranked 13th in the NFL in quarterback pressures with 34.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).