One UDFA Is All the Rage for Vikings

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The Minnesota Vikings have some sort of hack all figured out. In back-to-back-to-back offseasons, the purple team has landed the most coveted undrafted free agent(s) right after the draft, and 2024 was no different.

One UDFA Is All the Rage for Vikings

UCLA EDGE defender Gabriel Murphy was the most recent example, and the man is generating steam similar to Ivan Pace Jr. one year ago. And most know how that turned out.

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This week, Bleacher Report labeled Murphy as the most likely UDFA to make Minnesota’s roster later this summer in an article detailing UDFAs by team. BR’s Ryan Fowler wrote about Murphy, “Gabriel Murphy was overshadowed by Indianapolis Colts first-rounder Laiatu Latu at UCLA, but he was one of the country’s premier pass-rushers in 2023. He will enter camp as one of the Minnesota Vikings’ most fundamentally talented pass-rushers.”

Suddenly, Minnesota has tremendous outside linebacker depth with Jonathan Greenard, Andrew Van Ginkel, rookie Dallas Turner, Patrick Jones II, Jihad Ward, Andre Carter II — and Murphy.

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“Former UDFA Andre Carter II remains on the Vikings roster, and Minnesota signed Jihad Ward in free agency. However, that shouldn’t affect Murphy’s ability to challenge for a legitimate role this fall. NFL teams got a little too cute on his evaluation during the draft. Minnesota’s staff deserves credit for prioritizing Murphy as a UDFA,” Fowler added.

Like Pace Jr. in 2023, Murphy was evidently neglected in the draft because of size and perceived strength. General managers believed he was too small for the EDGE spot or not strong enough for sustainability. Still, he was supposed to go off the draftboard sometime in the middle rounds but curiously tumbled into the undrafted pool.

Coach Already a Hot
Minnesota defensive coordinator Brian Flores takes over the team’s defense at an introductory press conference on February 15th, 2023, in Eagan, Minnesota.

Last week, CBS Sports echoed a likeminded sentiment regarding Murphy. Chris Trapasso opined, “Murphy can be the Pace of the 2023 UDFA class for the Vikings, and the similarities between the two are striking. Lack of prototypical size and length was probably the reason Murphy went undrafted — Pace knows how that feels — but, like Pace, Murphy was outstandingly productive in college, and, actually where they differ is Murphy tested like a premier athlete for his respective position.”

Now, with the lofty expectations carved out for Murphy, it’s all about the when on his arrival to a regular season field. Minnesota assuredly doesn’t have an EDGE need at the moment, stuffed to the gills with options, especially after drafting the aforementioned Turner out of nowhere in Round 1.

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Murphy can basically go at his own pace and hopefully make the 53-man roster in September, bide his time, and see meaningful action before too long.

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).

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