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Danielle Hunter

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter has pretty typical football roots -- SEC powerhouse LSU in college and Morton Ranch High School in Katy, Texas -- but his origins are quite unique.

He was born in St. Catherine, Jamaica, where he lived until he was 8.

"Not many come from my country to come play football," Hunter told ThePostGame. "I take a lot of pride in it."

According to Pro Football Reference, only 40 players in NFL history were born in Jamaica, including three current players -- Detroit Lions CB Nevin Lawson, New England Patriots S Patrick Chung and Hunter.

Hunter's mother, Kimara Bonitto, was 18 when she got pregnant with him in Jamaica, and he has only met his biological father a couple of times.

Bonitto moved to New York and eventually became an accountant while Danielle stayed in Jamaica where his aunt raised him.

Hunter then spent six months with his grandmother, Joy Gayle, in New York. Bonitto settled in Texas with Cheikh Ndiaye, whom she had met in college and Hunter considers his father. After Bonitto and Ndiaye married, Hunter lived with them in the Houston area.

Danielle Hunter

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the people," he said, "helping me out."

And the 24-year-old is here to stay in the NFL.

With long, sculpted arms and a quick burst, the 6-5, 252-pounder has become one of the NFL's best defensive ends. He has 18.5 sacks since the start of 2017 and has had a sack in eight of Minnesota's first 11 games this season.

"He's getting after the quarterback," said Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph.

Before his Bears faced Hunter in Week 11, Chicago offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich joked to the media that film review of Hunter's pass rush was so scary that it seemed better suited "for mature audiences only."

The 2015 third-round pick has proven to be a quick study who has improved rapidly. Hunter, who grew up playing cricket and soccer in Jamaica and wasn't aware of American football until 2002, went from starting one game in his first two seasons in the NFL to starting every game from 2017 to 2018.

"Every year you want to get better," Joseph said. "And he's doing that."

This year Hunter's having his most impressive season. He not only entered Week 11 with the second most sacks in the league (11.5), but he's had to bear more of the pass-rush burden on the Vikings defense. Three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Everson Griffen missed five games due to mental-health issues before returning to action on Oct. 28.

Hunter hasn't returned to Jamaica since 2003, though he said he hopes to go back next year.

His future with the Vikings is more assured. In June the team rewarded him with a five-year, $72 million extension, including $40 million guaranteed, completing an amazing journey from Jamaica to Minnesota.

"But everything happens for a reason," Hunter said. "I just go with the flow."

Follow Jeff Fedotin on Twitter @JFedotin.