Giants coaching staff has a strong connection to Vikings star on the trade block

new york giants, danielle hunter
Dec 8, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) celebrates after sacking Detroit Lions quarterback David Blough (not pictured) during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have a profound connection to one of the hottest names on the trading block. Minnesota Vikings star edge rusher Danielle Hunter is skipping mandatory minicamp as the two sides “haven’t seen eye-to-eye on a new contract.” The Vikings have received trade calls for Hunter and the three-time Pro Bowler could be traded soon.

Giants defensive line coach Andre Patterson is familiar with Hunter, having coached him for several seasons during his tenure with Minnesota. Patterson was formerly the defensive line coach for the Vikings from 2014 to 2021. He also served as the team’s assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator in 2021.

As Hunter’s trade market heats up, the Giants could consider reuniting the 28-year-old pass-rusher with Patterson.

Could the Giants trade for Danielle Hunter?

Hunter is entering the final year of his five-year, $72 million contract signed back in 2018. His guaranteed salary for the 2023 season sits at only $5.5 million, ranking 40th among NFL edge rushers. Hunter is seeking a new, long-term contract with a pay raise placing him in the top tier of pass-rushers. Minnesota, however, is not keen on constraining its ability to take “big swings in the future” by locking in top-tier money to veteran players.

The Giants are building a young pass-rushing corps featuring Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari as their two starters. Behind Thibodeaux and Ojulari, however, is a steep drop-off in talent. Hunter could be added to the mix, giving Big Blue a plethora of edge-rushing prowess.

According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, it may take a second-round pick and more to trade for Hunter. New York has no reported interest to this point, but potentially acquiring Hunter could make sense for the team considering his connection to their coaching staff.

Despite spending the majority of his career in the two-point stance, Hunter transitioned from a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 outside linebacker in 2022. He returned from two injuries suffered in 2021 and totaled 10.5 sacks in his new position this season.

Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale deploys an aggressive, 3-4 defense. Hunter could fit in as an outside linebacker in Martindale’s system, but his ability to play on the line would allow Martindale to utilize his skillset in a variety of ways.

Hunter has posted double-digit sacks in four of the last five seasons. As one of the league’s premier pass-rushers, Hunter would immediately bolster New York’s defense and transform their front seven. Since he is only due $5.5 million against the cap this season, the Giants could afford to take on the remainder of Hunter’s contract. However, they would need to sign him to a lucrative contract extension, which may prevent them from considering the trade altogether.