The Overlooked Potential Impact of CB Byron Murphy

Development for CBs
Minnesota Vikings cornerback Byron Murphy spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, a 2nd-Round draft pick. He was welcomed to the Vikings from free agency in March 2023.

This spring, the Minnesota Vikings lost a number of players at the cornerback position, including Kris Boyd, Cam Dantzler, Patrick Peterson, Duke Shelley, and Chandon Sullivan.

In order to ease these losses, Minnesota opted to bring in CB Byron Murphy during free agency, and he likely will be listed as the CB1 when the Vikings release their first depth chart. However, apart from Murphy’s abilities in pass coverage, there is an overlooked impact he can have on Minnesota’s defense this season.

The Overlooked Impact of CB Byron Murphy

CB Byron Murphy
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The intriguing part of Murphy’s playstyle circulates around the fact that he can play either as a boundary CB or he can step into the slot. Over the course of his four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, the cornerback played 1722 snaps on the outside as well as 1483 snaps in the slot, according to Pro Football Focus.

As a result, he is capable of playing multiple roles for a secondary. One of those roles is as a run defender. In 2022, he played 220 snaps of run defense for the Cardinals before an injury ended his season. Among cornerbacks with at least 200 run defense snaps, (again per PFF) his grade of 73.6 ranked tied for 17th in the NFL.

Vikings Unveil Footage
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Murphy’s impact in the running game far surpasses that of any corner on the Vikings roster last season, too. Peterson and Sullivan were the only two corners for Minnesota that reached that 200-snap benchmark against the run. Peterson finished the year with a grade of 66.9 while Sullivan graded out at 67.4.

Murphy’s success against the run isn’t a one-year thing, either. While the 2021 season was a bit of a down-year in this department in PFF’s eyes (finishing with a grade of 52.5), he was also terrific against the run in 2020. He graded out at 74.7 that year for the Cardinals.

In a Brian Flores defense that should have players flying around at all times, this could prove to be very crucial to Minnesota’s success this season. They certainly need all the help they can get too. In 2022, the Vikings run defense EPA was the 11th-worst in the NFL, and they allowed 5 yards per carry over their final three games of the season.

Should Sign Veteran CB
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In order to keep their high-flying offense on the field as much as possible, Minnesota cannot afford to allow opponents the luxury of draining game clock with long, drawn-out possessions. Part of this involves being able to stop the run. Murphy’s addition should go a long way towards ensuring the Vikings can limit opponents in the running game this year.

The Vikings kick off their regular season on September 10th when they play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium.

NOTE: This article originally appeared on our sister-site, PurplePTSD.com.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.

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