Danielle Hunter has not gotten to the quarterback in his first two games with the Vikings, continuing a trend from his junior year at LSU, when he had just 1.5 sacks. But coach Mike Zimmer is seeing some progress there.
Zimmer, after pointing out that “he’s doing a good job in the running game,” went on to say that Hunter reminds him of some of the other young and athletic pass rushers he has coached throughout his NFL career in that the third-round pick will have to adapt to the competition in this league.
“He’s like a lot of young guys that I’ve had that have some athletic ability that relied a lot on their athletic ability,” Zimmer said after this morning’s walkthrough. “So there’s still some things that we’re trying to correct. I did see some improvement in some of the rushes last week. But he’s still got a ways to go as far as being consistent with that.”
While Hunter has not yet recorded a sack or even a quarterback hit, Pro Football Focus has credited him with six hurries on 70 pass rushes over two games. So the rookie has been effective at times.
“He’s had some good rushes and he has not-so-good rushes,” Zimmer said.
Zimmer said that inexperienced pass rushers can get discouraged when the moves they are being taught in practice don’t translate to games. And as a result, they stick with what has worked instead of evolving.
“A lot of times young guys come in and if they don’t have success right away, they try something else. Then they try something else. Then they try something else. And consequently, they don’t get good at one thing,” Zimmer said. “You get good at one thing then progress to the next thing.”
At 20, Hunter is the youngest guy on the team. So if he takes to what Zimmer is teaching him, he has plenty of room for growth as a pass rusher.