Danielle Hunter’s career has often been neglected by the mainstream media. Yet, his determination to be great has never waffled as he continues to be one of the most dominant pass rushers in football, whether it be for LSU or the Minnesota Vikings.
An LSU Tiger
Although Danielle Hunter’s career in collegiate football was short-lived, he certainly commanded respect in his three years playing for LSU.
The first of those was in 2012 when he was just 17 years old. His freshman year wasn’t glorious to say the least, however, he participated in special team plays gaining 12 total tackles on the year.
In Hunter’s sophomore year he was given the starter role at defensive tackle. It was to be a ground-breaking year for the 18-year old, within which he accumulated 57 total tackles, 8 TFL, 3 sacks, 2 pass deflections and 1 forced fumble.
2014 marked his third and final year at the school, where he moved to defensive end. It was to be his greatest year in Louisiana, as he posted 73 tackles, 13 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 6 pass deflections, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery for a TD.
After deciding to forego his final year of college football, Hunter entered the 2015 NFL Draft touted as one of the top prospects at his position. However, the decision to enter the draft early may have hampered his stock because we may never have seen his best performances in a Tigers jersey.
Danielle Hunter was selected 88th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft in a package deal that involved the Vikings swapping picks with the Lions.
At the time of his selection he was the youngest active player in the NFL. This however, didn’t phase Hunter. He earned a spot on the roster as a rotational DE. Here, he contributed 1 forced fumble, 6 sacks, 29 tackles, 9 QB hits and 8 TFL. For his efforts he was subsequently selected as a member of the PFWA 2015 NFL All-Rookie Team.
In the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Hunter secured a starting spot on the roster. Within those years he recovered a fumble for his first ever NFL touchdown, as well as racking up 19.5 sacks, 99 total tackles, 23 TFL, 30 QB hits and 1 safety. For many, it was a travesty that he failed to receive a nomination to the Pro Bowl in either of the two seasons. Nevertheless, Hunter continues to play at an elite level.
2018 – The Year of Dominance
2018 is already shaping up to be Hunter’s best year. In 9 games (all of which he’s started) he already has 11.5 sacks on the season, 43 tackles, a career-high 13 TFL and 15 quarterback hits.
In-fact his best performance of date took place just last week against the Detroit Lions. In a dominating performance, he amassed 9 total tackles, a career-high for sacks in a game (3.5) and recovered a fumble for a 32-yard touchdown. Therefore, Hunter is the front-runner to be nominated as the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
2.5 sacks ✔️
Fumble recovery ✔️
Touchdown ✔️@NFL, look no further for your NFC Defensive Player of the Week. pic.twitter.com/4iC3CTnPV9
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) November 4, 2018
In what looks to be a season of career-highs for Danielle Hunter, he looks unstoppable at the line of scrimmage. As matter of fact, Hunter has already advanced in the list of all-time sack leaders through four years for the franchise:
W/ Danielle Hunter tallying 1.5 sacks on that drive, his 35.0 sacks through his 1st 4 seasons w/ the Vikings ranks 4th in team history, passing John Randle.
J. Allen 62.0
A. Page 39.0
J. Marshall 37.0
D. HUNTER 35.0
J. Randle 34.5
— Vikings PR (@VikingsPR) November 4, 2018
Furthermore, he is joined with similarly great defensive lineman, who provide an even greater threat to the opposing quarterback. The Vikings now lead the league in sacks this season, as well as Hunter leading the league in individual sacks also.
Is there any stopping him or this defence?
Image Rights – sportingsota.com