Mar 222014

The undersized Captain Munnerlyn (5-8 186) has been a late bloomer in his career, after struggling mightily early in his career after getting drafted in the 7th round in 2009. Very similar to the way the similarly sized Tim Jennings developed, Munnerlyn has emerged as an above average cornerback in the NFL. He had a solid 2012 year and the Panthers wisely brought him back on a cheap one year deal for 2013 after the market devalued him. Munnerlyn ended up being a big part of the reason why the Panthers had such a strong defense, doing his best Antoine Winfield impression (showing in coverage on the slot and the outside, as a run stopper, and as a blitzer) grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 11th ranked cornerback, though “only” their 25th ranked cornerback in terms of pure coverage grade.

Now Munnerlyn goes to Antoine Winfield’s old team, the Vikings, who struggled mightily defensively last year in the first year of Winfield’s retirement. Munnerlyn does his best coverage work on the slot, but he can also play outside and he’s above average as a run stopper and blitzer for a cornerback. He’ll presumably start opposite Xavier Rhodes and move inside to the slot in sub packages in the role in which Adam Jones thrived in Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer’s system when Zimmer was the defensive coordinator in Cincinnati. I like the schematic fit and I like the price (11.25 million over 3 years with 4.45 million guaranteed) for the Vikings to fill this need. This was a smart move.

Grade: A

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