The Vikings Most Popular Free Agent Addition

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Through two weeks of NFL free agency, Cameron Dantzler (CB, Commanders), Eric Kendricks (LB, Chargers), Patrick Peterson (CB, Steelers), Adam Thielen (WR, Panthers), Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, Browns), and Duke Shelley (CB, Raiders) have left the Minnesota Vikings.

Josh Oliver (TE, Ravens), Marcus Davenport (EDGE, Saints), Byron Murphy (CB, Cardinals), Dean Lowry (DT, Packers), Brandon Powell (WR, Rams), and Troy Reeder (LB, Chargers) joined as newcomers. Thirteen others remained with the Vikings via unrestricted free agency.

The Vikings Most Popular Free Agent Addition

But none have moved the needle for additions quite like cornerback Byron Murphy.

Most Popular Free
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Whether it’s fans or NFL pundits, the move to improve the CB room with Murphy is close to universally applauded. One ESPN pundit, Mike Clay, named Murphy’s agreement with the Vikings as the best bargain-bin transaction leaguewide. Clay wrote, “Murphy is 25 years old and one of the league’s most underrated and versatile corners. Landing him on a two-year, $22 million deal is a steal for a Vikings team that had a massive void at corner and needed value signings in order to offset several notable losses.”

VikingsTerritory’s Janik Eckardt polled Vikings fans about the best free-agent move of the offseason, and about 90% have opined Murphy. You can vote below.

The man is a fan favorite and hasn’t even stepped onto the field. A good omen indeed, Murphy will begin his career’s second chapter under the tutelage of new defensive coordinator Brian Flores. Minnesota fired up the league’s sixth-worst defense per DVOA in 2022, the third-to-worst points allowed, and second-to-worst yards allowed with one year of Ed Donatell in the saddle. Donatell then left, Flores took over, and now Murphy will help effectuate the Vikings new and mighty defensive plans.

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Along with Clay, ESPN’s Jordan Reid also commended the Vikings signing of Murphy. He named it the best bargain-bin move of the offseason, too, and defended the selection, “This secondary desperately needed a veteran presence after the exit of Peterson to the Steelers. Murphy brings versatility, physicality and experience to Minnesota’s defense. And getting him on a two-year, $22 million deal is reasonable considering the traits he will bring as an immediate starter.”

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.

Murphy emphatically shores up Minnesota’s skinny CB room, at least on paper, and brings the player total to five, with the NFL draft less than five weeks away.

  • Byron Murphy
  • Andrew Booth
  • Akayleb Evans
  • Tay Gowan
  • Kalon Barnes

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

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 missed eight games in 2022 because of a back strain.

His contract is essentially a one-year prove-it deal, with an option to be more expansive at this time next year. Murphy is likely to wear Patrick Peterson’s old jersey number, No. 7, and yes, both players emigrated from the Arizona Cardinals.

Ironically, Peterson joined the aforementioned Flores’ old team in free agency, the Steelers.

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,’ and The Doors (the band).

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