The Minnesota Vikings have not hidden their sole motive this offseason: get younger. After releasing Adam Thielen and especially after letting Patrick Peterson walk in free agency, Minnesota was strongly lacking depth. The most recent addition to the purple and gold is the picture-perfect pickup for Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Kevin O’Connell, and Brian Flores’ new era of Vikings football.
A Youth Movement
Byron Murphy Jr. is honestly one of, if not my favorite Vikings signing so far in free agency. Outside of his youthful (25) upside, he had a PFF grade of 90.4 in single coverage in the 2021 season, his last fully healthy season. While only playing nine games last season, “injury prone” isn’t what I’d label Murphy Jr, as he’s played all but one of the games possible in his first three seasons. That aforementioned 2021 season was Murphy’s breakout, to an extent, posting career highs in interceptions and passes defended. An odd stat from ‘21 was that Murphy actually returned one lone punt for the Arizona Cardinals and ran it out for 48 yards, a testament to his speed and acclimation to being a ball carrier.
Looking at this deal in the most unbiased lens possible, Minnesota absolutely ran a highway robbery on the Arizona Cardinals. Worst case scenario, we have a meh contract for a meh player. His floor’s been set, so I can’t see him fully bottoming out. Best case scenario, we have one of our corners of the future for $17.5 million over two years with only $12.6 million fully guaranteed. For reference, 30 year-old Marcus Peters gets paid $14 million yearly to put together worse seasons than Murphy. This is the ideal signing for Kwesi and Co. considering they’re now turning it into their team, instead of Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman’s table scraps and aging veterans. Murphy’s signing is, in every possible way, moving in the right direction.