Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayTwitter LogoFeatured Columnist IVJune 12, 2023

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The Minnesota Vikings released one Pro Bowler last week and have a problem on their hands with another.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported defensive end Danielle Hunter plans to skip mandatory minicamp over frustration with his contract. Hunter is due just $4.9 million in base salary in 2023, the final year of his five-year, $72 million deal signed in 2018.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported teams have contacted the Vikings regarding a trade for Hunter, but there has been no movement on that front.

Minnesota made its first bold move of the offseason camp period Friday, releasing longtime running back Dalvin Cook and handing the keys to Alexander Mattison. Cook rushed for 1,000 yards each of the last four seasons, making four straight Pro Bowls along the way.

Hunter, who has spent his whole career in Minnesota since being drafted in 2015, has been a little more inconsistent on a year-to-year basis. He’s racked up a stellar 71 sacks in seven seasons but has nearly as many single-digit-sack seasons (three) as he does double-digit ones (four).

That said, interested teams were undoubtedly impressed with how Hunter came back from a herniated disk in his neck to put together one of his best seasons in 2022. He showed no ill effects of the injury that cost him 10 games in 2021, playing in all 17 contests last season and earning an 86.3 grade from Pro Football Focus.

Edge-rusher has quickly become the most expensive defensive position, with seven different players averaging $20 million annually. It’s highly likely Hunter wants to become the eighth and won’t show up until he’s compensated—or traded to a team that will back up the Brinks truck.

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