Lions' level of interest in Danielle Hunter questioned by Vikings' beat writer

The Lions may or may not be very interested in signing free agent edge rusher Danielle Hunter, but a Vikings' beat writer senses a plot might be afoot.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

In the broad sense of a need at edge rusher, the Detroit Lions should not leave many stones unturned as free agency gets going next week and the draft follows in April. Someone like Danielle Hunter, even a bit older and sure to be expensive to sign as a free agent, should be somewhere on that radar.

The Lions have been convenient to tie to Hunter, with cap space and the aforementioned need to fortify the idea. And this regime in Detroit has gotten an up close look at him with the Minnesota Vikings over the last three seasons.

The Vikings have messed around with giving Hunter a long-term deal for a few years, and it seems unlikely they'll do it now. He will have several suitors on the open market. On a recent episode of the "Access Vikings' podcast, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune revealed how he heard the Lions and the Chicago Bears have interest in Hunter.

Vikings' writer questions Lions' level of genuine interest in Danielle Hunter

Part of the appeal of signing Hunter, for the Lions or the Bears, would be to take away a division rival's best pass rusher who won't be easy to replace.

Goessling's co-host and colleague Andrew Krammer wondered specifically about the Lions' true level of interest in Hunter.

"How much of that is truthful? How much of that is just a division rival trying to do a smart thing of up a market of a guy they are trying to get the heck out of here?”

"[The Lions] would obviously want Danielle [Hunter] to either have as many suitors as possible so that he can have a high enough market that either hurts the Vikings’ salary cap situation or just gets him out of there. Which is what you’d want as a division rival.”

Driving the price up on a division rival's free agent player to make that divisional rival pay more if they'd like to keep him feels like good strategy, doesn't it? In this case the Lions probably have thresholds they won't go much past with Hunter, in years and money, if they even have all that much interest in him.

That is the question. Do the Lions have any interest in Hunter? They should on some level, if only for their own due diligence on the edge rusher market. But a Vikings' beat writer has questioned just how interested they really are/could be, while inviting the idea it could be a complete facade to force Minnesota to pay more or lose him.

5 edge rushers the Detroit Lions should pursue in free agency. 5 edge rushers the Detroit Lions should pursue in free agency. dark. Next