Vikings Sign Captain Munnerlyn
The Vikings entered free agency in the top 10 in salary cap space. They did not waste any time going to work on improving their roster, signing Captain Munnerlyn to a three-year, $14.25 million contract with $7 million in guaranteed money. This deal will allow Munnerlyn to get money up front and showcase his talent for when he enters the market again at age 28.
Munnerlyn is the second player to come off the board in that “second tier” of cornerback signings — as far as contracts go. Corey Graham signed before him for four years and $16 million with less guaranteed than Munnerlyn, and that makes sense because Munnerlyn is younger and has been arguably better up until this point.
Munnerlyn’s breakout season in 2013 was even better than many realize. He finished as the 11th-best cornerback overall out of 79 players who played 50% of their team’s snaps or more. Munnerlyn graded out positively in all measures, but he was exceptionally strong against the run (+3.8) where he graded out as the sixth-best cornerback.
The Vikings aren’t only getting a tough cornerback, but they are also getting a playmaker. Last season, Munnerlyn had two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. In the past two seasons, he’s scored four times. Munnerlyn also racked up 74 tackles. Only four cornerbacks finished with more.
Munnerlyn has 5.5 sacks in his career, which is somewhat rare out of a corner. It will be interesting to see if new Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer uses him to blitz as often. Between the two players Zimmer used in the slot in Cincinnati, Dre Kirkpatrick and Chris Crocker, they blitzed a combined six times in 2013. Last season, he lined up for 406 snaps in the slot, which was more than any other cornerback. His 5-foot-8, 195-pound frame is likely best suited for the slot, but he has experience and success as an outside cornerback as well.
Re-signing Everson Griffen and adding Linval Joseph to the defensive line should help Munnerlyn’s fantasy value. They also have a visit scheduled for three-technique defensive tackle Henry Melton, who missed 2013 with a torn ACL, but had the seventh-best pass rush grade at defensive tackle in 2012. Munnerlyn also has the advantage of playing in Zimmer’s aggressive and effective defensive scheme.
Munnerlyn might not reach the same value playing behind a front seven that doesn’t feature Greg Hardy, Charles Johnson, Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, but he is in a great scheme and the team seems committed to building him a great defensive line. Munnerlyn will take a slight hit, but still be a capable. In CB-required leagues, Munnerlyn should present himself again as one of the better options in most IDP formats.
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