StaTuesday: Vikings’ Hunter hits sacks milestone at 25
Asking your tight end to stop Danielle Hunter, Minnesota’s 6-foot-5 defensive end, is perhaps inadvisable.
Jesse James demonstrated as much Sunday, holding Hunter at bay for roughly as long as it took Detroit Lions quarterback David Blough to drop back and realize what was coming.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) December 8, 2019
It was the Lions’ third play from scrimmage.
The play was a milestone for Hunter despite the mismatch, giving him 50.5 sacks in his career. He added another in the first quarter and a third in the second quarter for his first three-sack game of the year.
Already in his fifth season, Hunter turned 25 on Oct. 29, making him the youngest player to reach 50 career sacks. He’s up to 52.5 career sacks in just 75 games and 46 starts.
The feat earned him a call from Deion Sanders and some praise from taciturn head coach Mike Zimmer, who believes there’s still room for growth there.
“He’s got some things he can really improve on,” Zimmer said. “He’s got some things that he can really on improve on, and if it goes to that point where he does those, he’ll be really, really good.”
Maybe don’t mention that to Jesse James.
Currently tied for fourth in the NFL with 12.5 sacks — the Buccaneers’ Shaquil Barrett leads the league with 15 — Hunter has twice finished in the top-five, racking up a career-high 14.5 sacks last season.
Hunter’s performance Sunday was his second game this season with multiple sacks and his first since Week 5. He’s up to eight games with two-plus sacks, already tied for seventh all-time amongst Vikings defenders.
The only Vikings with more such games (the NFL didn’t begin tracking sacks until 1982): Brian Robison (9), Keith Millard (11), Everson Griffen (11), Jared Allen (22), John Randle (24) and Chris Doleman (24).
Maybe Zimmer is on to something.