NFL.com Names “Most Underappreciated” Player for Vikings

Use Unusual Tactic
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Not long ago, Pro Football Focus nominated linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. as the Minnesota Vikings’ most underrated player.

NFL.com Names “Most Underappreciated” Player for Vikings

But not so fast, says NFL.com. Camryn Bynum should be the guy considered as the club’s “most underappreciated.”

Vikings Safety Jokes
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The site tabbed Bynum for the title last week as it analyzed each NFC team’s most underappreciated commodity. And for the Vikings, that’s Bynum, as safety entering his fourth season this autumn. “I was thinking of naming Josh Metellus, but he seems to be an underrated favorite unsung hero of the moment, so I’m rolling with Bynum, who led the Vikings in tackles (137) in his second season as a full-time starter,” NFL.com’s Tom Blair explained. “He was the fourth-highest graded defender on the roster, according to PFF, and he ranked second in Minnesota in passes defensed (nine) — with his two picks both coming in a Monday Night Football win over the 49ers in Week 7.”

Bynum lives in a crowded Vikings’ safety room, outfitted with Harrison Smith, Josh Metellus, Theo Jackson, Lewis Cine, and Jay Ward. That was the case in 2023, too, but it didn’t matter for Bynum. He still won a starter’s job — and thrived.

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Blair added, “With Bynum, Metellus and Byron Murphy Jr. all showing they can excel under Brian Flores, Minnesota’s secondary seems to be in strong shape for 2024.”

Bynum tallied a 73.2 Pro Football Focus grade last season, an impressive mark that ranked 22nd in the sport. The grade notably outpaced Talanoa Hufanga, Harrison Smith, Justin Simmons, and Jaquan Brisker, among dozens of others. Flores’ defensive system indeed proved to be the special sauce for Bynum after a quieter year under Ed Donatell in 2022. Then again, almost every Vikings defender was quieter that season, unlocked in 2023 by Flores’ creativity.

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In one year, Flores improved the Vikings’ defense from a 24th ranking per DVOA in 2022 to 11th-best in the sport in 2023. Men like Bynum helped to spark the climb, and with new players this offseason like Jonathan Greenard, Dallas Turner, Andrew Van Ginkel, Blake Cashman, and Shaquill Griffin in the saddle, the unit could approach the Top 10.

The 2024 campaign is also rather pivotal for Bynum financially. It’s the final year of his rookie contract, and if he performs similarly to 2023, he can nail down a sweet contract from Minnesota or a different team in 2025 free agency.

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Bynum will turn 26 next month.


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 OverTheCap.com.

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