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Minnesota Vikings, Danielle Hunter restructured deal


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Defensive end Danielle Hunter and the Minnesota Vikings agreed to terms on a restructured deal, NFL Network reported Monday.

The new arrangement calls for $5.6 million of his 2021 base salary to be transferred to a signing bonus, giving him an earlier payday. Hunter, 26, had been unhappy with the five-year, $72 million extension he signed in 2018, and there was a possibility he might not report to the mandatory minicamp that begins Tuesday.

Under this agreement, a new $18 million roster bonus will kick in on the fifth day of the league year next March. At that point, the Vikings can decide to keep him for $20 million in 2022 (including the bonus), sign him to another contract or release him in a money-saving move, according to the report.

A third-round pick from LSU in the 2015 NFL Draft, Hunter is a key part of the Vikings defense. A Pro Bowl selection in 2018 and 2019, he posted 14.5 sacks each season.

He missed all of 2020 following neck surgery.

In 78 career games (49 starts) with the Vikings, Hunter has 276 tackles (67 for loss), 54.5 sacks, 80 quarterback hits, six forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and two touchdowns.

Also Monday, reports emerged that the Vikings were on the verge of signing defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who was released by the Cleveland Browns in a salary-cap move in April.

It would be a return to Minnesota for Richardson, a first-round draft pick of the New York Jets in 2013. After four seasons with the Jets, he played with the Seattle Seahawks (2017) and Vikings (2018) before signing a three-year free agent deal with the Browns worth $37 million, including $21 million guaranteed.

Richardson, 30, has played 121 career games (118 starts) and has 461 tackles (58 for loss), 31 sacks, 92 quarterback hits, 10 forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and one interception.

–Field Level Media