Vikings Unveil Footage of the New Guy

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.

Back in March, the Minnesota Vikings assessed their cornerback room with the impending departures of Patrick Peterson, Duke Shelley, Cameron Dantzler, Chandon Sullivan, and Kris Boyd afoot.

All those men left the organization while Byron Murphy joined the team via free agency, linked contractually for two years and $17.5 million.

Vikings Unveil Footage of the New Guy

And that was about it for notable veteran cornerbacks. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah signed Joejuan Williams from the New England Patriots and John Reid from the Atlanta Falcons, but no one knows if those two will make the regular season roster.

Vikings Unveil Footage
Dec 5, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy (7) runs with the football after his interception in the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the Byron Murphy Show for meaningful CB additions, with rookie side dishes of Mekhi Blackmon (USC) and Jay Ward (LSU). And on Monday, the Vikings unveiled new Murphy footage from a practice in Eagan.

Have a look.

Murphy was considered a top corner on the open market next to Jamel Dean, James Bradberry, and [perhaps] Cameron Sutton, and Adofo-Mensah wasted no time replacing Patrick Peterson, who signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers the day before. Here’s the Pro Football Focus tale of the tape for the 25-year-old:

  • 2019 = 48.3
  • 2020 = 64.7
  • 2021 = 59.7
  • 2022 = 66.7
Who Is the Best Vikings Addition?
Sep 18, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (7) scores on a 59-yard fumble recovery in overtime against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

And the passer-rating-against statistics:

  • 2019 = 111.2
  • 2020 = 92.5
  • 2021 = 87.6
  • 2022 = 103.1

Murphy has played 56 games (48 starts) since entering the NFL in 2019 as a 2nd-Round pick. He’s logged 229 total tackles and 5 interceptions in four seasons. Murphy also missed eight games in 2022 because of a back strain.

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Oct 20, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (7) against the New Orleans Saints at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Murphy’s contract is somewhat fluid, too, as he and the Vikings eventually decide if the 2023 relationship was worthwhile. Cardinals reporter Darren Urban explained in March, “So for Murphy, it is essentially a one-year, $12.6M deal that protects the Vikings if his back acts up and puts Murphy in a good place to get a longer, bigger extension if he performs as he expects.”

It’s a one-year commitment that the 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 iterations of the Vikings front office thoroughly love and crave. Seldom do the Vikings add a big-name free agent for longer than one season, with the exceptions of interior defensive linemen. In that vein, former bossman Rick Spielman and Adofo-Mensah are kindred souls.

Oct 9, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) is tackled by Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (7) at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The former Cardinals defender missed those eight games in 2022, evidently enough to make Adofo-Mensah and Brian Flores tread cautiously. Back injuries are never fun for anybody and are often considered the diciest to circumvent.

Murphy is young, however, and the 2022 injury shouldn’t be considered a ginormous risk. But the bet is hedged nevertheless. And that’s important for the Vikings because of their other cornerbacks. Murphy’s teammates, Andrew Booth and Akayleb Evans, were rookies in 2022, and Evans especially displayed promise when on the field. But he was beset by multiple concussions — also a scary injury — while Booth battled the injury bug from the draft onward. One or both could break out this summer, autumn, and winter and if they do, well, the Brian Flores defense will be in good shape for 2023 and beyond.

Monitoring cornerback health should be a the forefront of Vikings fans’ radar. All possible veteran starters were injured last year.

But, hey, at least Murphy is on the field now.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by