Undrafted Viking Has Fast Track to 53-Man Roster

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For the last three years, also known as the Kwesi Adofo-Mensah era, the Minnesota Vikings have figured out a hack for undrafted free agency.

Undrafted Viking Has Fast Track to 53-Man Roster

The club somehow always ends up with the class’ top undrafted free agent — Luiji Vilain in 2022, Ivan Pace Jr. in 2023, and now Gabriel Murphy.

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Minnesota grabbed the UCLA EDGE rusher right after the draft, and Murphy should be considered on the fast track to make the regular season roster because, well, money talks. Murphy’s UDFA deal clocked in at $245,000 in guaranteed cash, which is more than Pace Jr.’s paycheck in 2023. It’s unlikely that the Vikings would sign Murphy to that deal and release him a few months later.

So, the clues are there. And 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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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.

Shortly after the draft, CBS Sports uplifted Murphy’s rookie profile. 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.”

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Now, with the lofty expectations carved out for Murphy, plus the handsome UDFA contract, it’s all about the timing of his arrival to a regular season field. Minnesota assuredly doesn’t have a starting EDGE need immediately, but Murphy’s maturation will be monitored closely.

Minnesota also awarded UDFA wide receiver Jeshaun Jones a sweet deal worth $235,000 in guaranteed money, making him another man to observe this summer.

53-Man Roster
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Finally, with Pace Jr., it was easy to recognize his legitimacy last summer during training camp. His teammates sang his praises, and his early performance on the field was remarkable. Murphy is the next defender to watch amid the Vikings’ UDFA hack.

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.