But honestly, you could have fooled us – as well as Peterson.
“I remember when he first walked out here at minicamp … I was like, ‘Uh, we got us one here for sure.’ He’s just a freak of nature, just ripped up, has a body of a gladiator,” Peterson said this summer. “Reminded me a lot of a young Javon Kearse, just has that same body structure, that same tenacity off the edge, and he’s able to create havoc every single time he’s on the football field, so our job and the training staff’s job is obviously to keep everyone healthy so we can make a run at this thing.”
A healthy Hunter will be key to improving a defensive line that struggled greatly in 2020.
“Having Danielle back out there makes our D-line and our whole defense a lot better,” second-year end D.J. Wonnum said. “Even the young guys. His presence, us being able to watch him do different things and do different moves is making us better, as well.”
But the Vikings have made other adjustments to the trenches, as well, bringing back Stephen Weatherly and Sheldon Richardson and signing free agent defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. Michael Pierce, who opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, also adds a stout presence in the middle.
“It’s a very fun group of guys, guys from different backgrounds. We’re very diversified on the defensive line; strong guys, quick guys,” Hunter said. “Richardson, Pierce, Tomlinson, Armon [Watts], those are guys we can count on up front. All the ends pretty much all look the same and [are] learning the same. It makes everybody really excited and ready for the season.”