Prisco's Most Underrated NFL Players of 2017: Hail Vikings' next great pass rusher

He is 22 years old, had 12.5 sacks last season to tie for third in the league and he played just 578 snaps, which is why Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter is the NFL's most underrated player.

Outside of Minnesota, you would be hard-pressed to find many fans or media members who know much about Hunter.

Here's what you need to know: He might be the next great Vikings pass rusher.

Over their history, the Vikings have had plenty of dominant pass-rushing ends, players like Carl Eller, Chris Doleman and Jared Allen. Hunter isn't in that class yet, and he's probably the second-best defensive end on his team to Everson Griffen, but the potential is there for him to be a 15-sack player with more playing time.

Hunter is a 6-foot-5, 252-pound third-year player from LSU who has 18.5 sacks in his first two seasons -- with just one career start. He has played behind Griffen and Brian Robison, but that will change this year with him the starter at left end.

Hunter doesn't just get sacks with his speed. He has a great power move, knows how to use his hands and can attack the middle of an offensive lineman's chest to win. He did that against D.J. Humphries of the Arizona Cardinals last year to get a sack. He is also athletic enough to win off the edge.

Against the Packers in Week 16, he had a sack when he beat tight end Jared Cook and chased down Aaron Rodgers, but earlier in the game he showed his athletic ability on a third-down play when he dropped out in a blitz and covered Cook to tackle him for a 2-yard gain. He looked like a linebacker on the play.

Add it all up, especially the fact he has only been a part-time player, and it's why Hunter is the league's most underrated player.

Check out my picks for each team's most overrated and underrated player.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an... Full Bio

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