The Minnesota Vikings dropped a bombshell on Thursday, releasing Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook. Smelling blood in the water, the next report that came out is that several teams were calling the Vikings about a potential Danielle Hunter trade. If Minnesota is cleaning house of its top veterans, then the three-time Pro Bowl defensive end will be an in-demand player. Here are the three best Danielle Hunter trade destinations if the Vikings do decide to move on from the pass rusher.

There are a lot of reasons that teams are calling the Vikings about a potential Danielle Hunter trade. The former LSU Tiger, who the Vikings picked in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft, is a seven-year NFL veteran. Despite his experience, though, he doesn’t turn 29 until October.

His contract is also team-friendly. Hunter is in the final season of a five-year, $72 million deal he signed in 2018 (but that started in 2019). The contract has a cap hit of $13.1 million for the Vikings, but a team that traded for him would only be on the hook for $5.5 million.

That’s a great deal for a pass rusher as productive as Hunter.

The DE has 397 tackles, 71.0 sacks, 85 tackles for a loss, 112 QB hits, seven forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, and two defensive touchdowns in his career. That includes four double-digit sack seasons, with 10.5 in 2022.

With those numbers, it’s no surprise that teams are calling the Vikings about Hunter. Here are his best landing spots.

New York Jets

A common theme of these Danielle Hunter trade destinations will be that the teams are all-in on the 2023 NFL season.

The first team that fits this bill is the Jets. They have a (soon-to-be) 40-year-old quarterback in Aaron Rodgers and could use more help at the outside pass rush spots. Currently, the team has veterans John Franklin-Meyers and Carl Lawson, as well as youngsters Jermain Johnson and Will McDonald IV.

In 2023, Hunter will be better than any of these players, none of whom have ever had more than 7.0 sacks in a single season. And rushing next to dominant defensive tackle Quinnen Williams will allow the Vikings star to see a lot of single blocking with the Jets.

Houston Texans

The Texans inexplicably gave up their 2024 first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to go get Alabama EDGE Will Anderson Jr. at No. 3 after taking Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud at No. 2.

With no first-rounder, the Texans will want to win as much as they can next season, and putting Hunter on the opposite side of the line from Anderson Jr. should help both the rookie and the veteran.

Plus, new Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans comes from the San Francisco 49ers where he has Nick Bosa coming off the edge. Hunter may not be Bosa, but he’s closer than anything the Texans currently have on the roster.

San Francisco 49ers

Speaking of the 49ers, San Francisco might be the most intriguing Danielle Hunter trade destination from the Vikings' perspective.

For the 49ers, the team currently has second-year end Drake Jackson penciled in opposite Nick Bosa after losing Samson Ebukam to the Indianapolis Colts in free agency this offseason. Hunter would be a major upgrade there and a dangerous weapon on a line with Bosa, Javon Hargrave, and Arik Armstead.

For the Vikings, they could get QB Trey Lance back in a trade, and that would be huge for the team to get a real prospect behind Kirk Cousins. Right now, the team only has Nick Mullens and 25-year-old rookie Jaren Hall.

A Hunter for Lance swap could upgrade both teams, helping the 49ers now and the Vikings down the line.

New York Giants

The Giants have a lot in common with these other potential Danielle Hunter trade destinations.

They are competing for a playoff spot, have a good/promising pass rusher on one side (Kayvon Thibodeaux), and Hunter would be a massive upgrade on the other, as well as a serious difference-maker on an already solid defense.

Like the 49ers and the Jets, the Giants also have an incredible interior defensive line rotation (Dexter Lawrence, A’Shawn Robinson, Leonard Williams) that will make life a whole lot easier for Hunter and probably even lead to another double-digit sack season and maybe even a fourth Pro Bowl.

The G Men were in the middle of the pack last season with 41 sacks. They upgraded the linebacker corps and secondary this offseason but didn’t do much at edge rusher. If Hunter adds 10.5 sacks again to his unit, that would likely put the Giants in the top five in the league, and that would be huge.