Days after being selected to his first Pro Bowl on the merits of a season that’s produced 14 1/2 sacks so far, Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter can put another $500,000 in his pocket if he so much as splits a sack this weekend on the quarterback he brought down 3 1/2 times last month.
Hunter, who is tied with Von Miller and J.J. Watt for second in the league with 14 1/2 sacks, has already triggered a $500,000 escalator clause in his 2019 contract by eclipsing 13 sacks for the season. He’d bump the escalator to $1 million if he reaches 15 sacks, increasing his base salary to $10.4 million and his salary cap number to $14 million in 2019.
The 24-year-old isn’t the only pass rusher with a chance to cash in this weekend. In fact, if Hunter splits a sack with Tom Johnson on Sunday, it’ll net both players a combined $650,000.
Johnson, who’s already hit a $200,000 incentive for eclipsing three sacks, can bump his incentive to $350,000 with another half-sack. He’s got 4 1/2 for the season, and would get $350,000 if he reaches five for the year. Johnson also can make $500,000 if he has a surge at the end of the season and finishes with seven sacks.
And defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who also has 4 1/2 sacks, would land a $666,667 incentive if he reaches six sacks. An eight-sack season would bring Richardson a $1,333,333 incentive.
Wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who has 94 catches this season, can join Adam Thielen above the 100-catch mark on Sunday. If he does, he’ll bump his 2021 base salary by $666,667, his 2022 base salary by $750,000 and his 2023 base by $800,000, thanks to an escalator clause in the contract he signed in July. Diggs needs just 36 yards to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career.
Punt returner Marcus Sherels’ 70-yard runback on Sunday helped bring his season average to 12 yards per return, which is current the fourth-best mark in the NFL. If Sherels can pass the Bears’ Tarik Cohen for third, he’d secure a $200,000 incentive for finishing in the top three in the league.