Vikings DE Danielle Hunter has been named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Detroit Lions last week. Hunter set a career-high in sacks with 3.5 while adding 9 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 4 quarterback pressures and 1 fumble recovery that he returned 32-yards for a game-sealing touchdown in the 4th quarter. Hunter became the first player since at least 1982 to record 9 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a touchdown in a single-game. As a defensive unit, the Vikings set a franchise record with 10 sacks.
The 4th year pro, who recently turned 24, leads the NFL with 11.5 sacks. The former LSU Tiger has recorded at least 1.0 sack in 8 of the 9 Viking contests this season. The 3rd round draft pick in the 2015 NFL Draft (#88 overall) has 37.0 career sacks.
The NFC Player of the Week award is the first of Hunter’s career, and the eighth by a Viking defensive player under Head Coach Mike Zimmer.
VIKINGS TO BE NAMED NFC PLAYER OF THE WEEK UNDER ZIMMER
|Defensive||Anthony Barr, LB||2014, Week 8, at Tampa Bay|
|Special Teams||Adam Thielen, WR||2014, Week 13, vs. Carolina|
|Special Teams||Marcus Sherels, PR||2015, Week 8, at Chicago|
|Defensive||Linval Joseph, DT||2015, Week 9, vs. St. Louis|
|Defensive||Terence Newman, CB||2015, Week 10, at Oakland|
|Special Teams||Blair Walsh, K||2015, Week 16, vs. NY Giants|
|Defensive||Everson Griffen, DE||2015,Week 17, at Green Bay|
|Defensive||Eric Kendricks, LB||2016, Week 1, at Tennessee|
|Offensive||Stefon Diggs, WR||2016, Week 2, vs. Green Bay|
|Defensive||Everson Griffen, DE||2016, Week 3, at Carolina|
|Defensive||Xavier Rhodes, CB||2016, Week 11, vs. Arizona|
|Sam Bradford, QB
Kai Forbath, K
|2017, Week 1, vs. New Orleans
2017, Week 7, vs. Baltimore
|Harrison Smith, S
Harrison Smith, S
Danielle Hunter, DE
|2017, Week 16, at Green Bay
2018, Week 1, vs. San Francisco
2018, Week 9, vs. Detroit
The Minnesota Vikings got after Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Minnesota’s defense sacked Stafford a team record 10 times, including 3.5 sacks from DE Danielle Hunter as the Vikings defeated the Lions 24-9 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
After the game, the Vikings’ defensive line, who were responsible for 9 of the 10 sacks, reacted to their dominating performance:
DE Danielle Hunter(3.5 sacks):
On setting a team record with 10 sacks…
A: We did it together, it wasn’t just me. It was the defensive line working together, staying in our rush lanes and just getting to that passer.
On getting record number of sacks….
A: It’s something special. It tells you that we go out there and we work together as a team. We stick with the defensive plan and we go out there like a unit.
DT Linval Joseph:
On team Defense performance…
A: Today felt like we had a great game plan, we had a good week of practice, and we just have to take this and keep moving forward.
Is this the most complete game, you’ve had all season?
A: Its’ pretty complete, as a whole it wasn’t. We did a lot of good things. We can work on some things on Tuesday so we can be better.
DE Stephen Weatherly(1 sack):
On sacks changing the rhythm of the game…
A: Yeah, most definitely and one thing we like is that even though we were able to put pressure early, get sacks early, they didn’t change their pass plan for shorter more intermediate routes. They were still sticking to the deeper, longer more developed routes and so we were able to take advantage of that as well. We were able to apply pressure all night long and get sacks all night long.
On Danielle Hunter…
A: It’s awesome because they worry about him and I get a little less attention which allows me to do more work.
On sack on Matthew Stafford…
A: He was still looking for his throws, looking for some way to get something going. We could tell that he was looking for a big play, a momentum changer and we weren’t able to give him that. Our secondary was playing outstanding, I was told half of our sacks were coverage sacks and that’s just a testament to the guys on the secondary doing their work, doing their due diligence and shutting down all their favorite plays.
DT Tom Johnson(2.5 sacks):
What can you say about your performance today?
A: I was able to get one-on-ones today. Since I have been back the last few weeks, they have been sliding the line to the three technique, leaving the nose tackle one-on-one. Today we came in with a game plan to try and make them play honest, and we were able to capitalize on it.
DT Sheldon Richardson(0.5 sack):
On the defensive performance…
A: It felt good; it felt good. That was a fun game, a collective effort all the way around. We executed pretty much every time.
On supporting teammates after big plays…
A: We pump each other up. When a guy makes a good plays, I go shake their hand. Then, I have to get mine, that’s how it goes.
On pressuring Matt Stafford…
A: All I can do is my job. He wasn’t there a few times when I beat my guy clean, and I missed a few, too. Like I said, he was there and he wasn’t there. It was a good team effort.
On playing beside Danielle Hunter...
A: It’s great. It just makes my job easier. I can bull rush the guy coming at me and he’s coming around the corner.
Was today this defense’s best performance this season…
A: Statistically, yes. We got after it today.
DE Everson Griffen(1.5 sacks):
Do you feel like this defense is back to where you were last season?
A: We still have some ways to go. I’m just happy to be back; to be here with my team, after missing five weeks, it feels good. Back on game two for me; I’m still knocking some rust off but it’s coming back faster than I thought it would. Our defense still has a lot of improvements to make, but we can be good; we can be really good.
When you are getting consistent pressure on the quarterback through the course of the game, what effect does that have?
A: Getting sacks is one of the hardest things to do in the National Football League. Affecting the quarterback is also great; we did a lot of that today.
They haven’t given up many sacks this season, what made you feel you would have success today?
A: Our whole mentality coming in is stopping the run; and we did that today. We were then able to pin our ears back and rush the passer.