Vikings Defender Got a Raise on Monday

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The Minnesota Vikings have overhauled the defensive personnel in free agency after letting go of some key contributors. Danielle Hunter’s departure will surely hurt the most, although Andrew Van Ginkel and Jonathan Greenard should be fine alternatives. Native Minnesotan Blake Cashman also returned home, taking over for Jordan Hicks. Shaquill Griffin is a new defensive back in the mix, while Jerry Tillery is joining the defensive line.

Vikings Defender Got a Raise on Monday

In addition to those newcomers, the Vikings have some returning defenders. Defensive tackle Harrison Phillips will continue to be the top defensive lineman. Behind him, Ivan Pace wants to confirm his rookie heroics in the second campaign. The full cornerback room returned, including starters Byron Murphy and Akayleb Evans.

Vikings Defender Got a Raise on Monday
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Perhaps the strongest position group on the entire roster is the safety group around legend Harrison Smith, Swiss army knife Josh Metellus, and 2021 draft choice Camryn Bynum.

Bynum had a wonderful Monday as he earned a raise of $785,489. The NFL has a program in place that compensates players with low salaries but high snap counts.

Bynum logged 1,122 defensive snaps, missing only nine plays. His durability has been remarkable, as he played every single one of the 1,161 defensive snaps in 2022. Those numbers combine for the second-highest snap count among all defenders since 2022.

Players Who Have Improved
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The former fourth-rounder had a breakout season following a shaky first year as a starter under Ed Donatell. Brian Flores arrived and changed the scheme, which looked perfect for his defense. Bynum led all Vikings in tackles with 137 (combined) and 94 solo tackles, landing him at the top of all defensive backs in both categories.

While Skol Nation was concerned before the season kicked off and hoped the team would acquire a replacement, Bynum has proven himself in his second year as a starter. The learning curve should’ve been expected, but fans aren’t always patient with their players.

He was a cornerback in college, but the Vikings drafted him and immediately moved him to safety, where he has been ever since. His PFF grades show his breakout. The 73.2 in 2023 ranked him 22nd among all safeties despite several late-season stinkers. In the previous year, he logged a grade of only 58.7, 68th among players at his position.

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Bynum entered the offseason as the clear starter on one safety spot. He is the team’s top deep safety, while Smith and Metellus are best at playing a versatile role that includes duties in the box. His solid play deep allows his teammates to roam closer to the line of scrimmage.

Probably the best game of his career came in the team’s massive win over the San Francisco 49ers in primetime when he picked off Brock Purdy twice and tabulated nine tackles, enough to earn NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Could Be Cut This
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The raise is well deserved, and it is always fun to watch when a mid-round draft pick, a player many have already written off after the 2022 season, is playing well. His emergence has made the pick of Lewis Cine an afterthought.

Bynum will turn 26 in July and hopes to get another raise soon as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt