Kevin SeifertESPN staff writer2 minutes to read
Egan, Minnesota — Minnesota Vikings pass nurse Danielle Hunter reported to training camp Tuesday and decided to turn it down amid ongoing contract talks with the team.
Hunter will not be a full participant at the start of training camp, however, in part because he has skipped all Minnesota offseason practices, including the mandatory minicamp. But the contract status of Hunter — who is set to fetch $5.5 million this season, well below the veteran pass tackler’s market value — still looms large in the future.
Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah stopped short on Tuesday to say Hunter’s future is resolved.
When asked if he was confident Hunter would be on the roster this season, he was “really excited to see him”.
“It’s great to see such a great player,” Adofu-Mensah said. “Great Viking – really excited. So I just want to make sure I say it, and that’s where I’m at right now.”
Fisherman and coach Kevin O’Connell has spoken frequently in recent days, and O’Connell said he is looking at the situation in incremental steps.
“It’s going to be a day-to-day thing,” O’Connell said. “Daniel and I have had such a good conversation over the past few days, and we’re really trying to come up with a plan that will allow him to feel good about coming to work with him as the Minnesota Vikings every single day.”
Neither O’Connell nor Adofu-Mensah have said whether they think Hunter will train fully before there is a contract resolution, nor what will happen if there is no resolution.
“There are a lot of things we’re trying to work through with Daniel,” said Adofo-Mensah. “Obviously we haven’t seen him since last season. So among the many other issues we’re trying to work through with his reps, those conversations are ongoing.”
Hunter could not be reached for comment. He came back last season after two injury-hit years to record 10.5 sacks, even after going from 4-3 defensively to 3-4 outfielder. Several NFL teams have watched his condition this season, but there have been no serious trade talks yet.
The Vikings quickly revamped the roster in season two for what Adofo-Mensah called a “competitive rebuild.” They saw off four longtime starters (receiver Adam Thielen, running back Dalvin Cook, linebacker Eric Kendricks and cornerback Patrick Peterson), persuaded two to take a pay cut (safety Harrison Smith and linebacker Jordan Hicks) and traded one (passer Zadarius Smith).
Adofo-Mensah signed passing free agent Marcus Davenport to a one-year contract, but his arrival served as a replacement for Za’Darius Smith. Fourth-year player DJ Wonnum has been working in position for Hunter during OTA practices, but it’s clear the Vikings will be vulnerable at the position if Hunter isn’t part of the team this season.
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