“After Dark” Vikings Strike Again by Signing CB Byron Murphy to 2-Year Deal

Late-night Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is at it again. After making a deal to acquire EDGE Marcus Davenport on Monday night, the Vikings GM has swung another big night-time deal to acquire another big name defender. This time, the Vikings have acquired former Arizona Cardinals CB Byron Murphy. As reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Murphy will go to Minnesota on a two-year deal worth $22 million.

Murphy played just nine games in 2022 due to injury, but he is the exact type of cornerback that the Vikings have needed in their secondary. The 2019 second-round pick has been a lockdown player when he’s been on the field for the Cardinals.

Over his first four seasons, Murphy appeared in 56 games, including 48 starts, and he recorded 229 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 34 passes defended, 5 interceptions, a forced fumble, and 5 fumble recoveries.

CB Byron Murphy
Oct 9, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (7) against the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ironically, Murphy spent the first two seasons of his NFL career learning under the wing of Patrick Peterson before Peterson left the Cardinals to join the Vikings. Now, in the Vikings first season post-Peterson, Murphy looks like the main guy to replace him in the Vikings starting lineup.

While Murphy’s back injury held him out for the rest of the 2022 season following Week 10, he was a major reason why the Cardinals turned into a playoff team in 2021. Murphy defended 12 passes during the year and recorded 4 interceptions.

He joins a Vikings defense in desperate need of a true starting CB after Peterson’s aforementioned departure as well as their waiving of Cam Dantzler earlier this week. He joins a secondary currently comprised of four other cornerbacks: Kalon Barnes, Andrew Booth, Akayleb Evans, and Tay Gowan.

Sep 18, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (7) celebrates after scoring on a 59-yard fumble recovery in overtime against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, there is still a chance that the Vikings could retain Duke Shelley as well, but it is difficult to believe that the “practice squad member turned starter” would be able to recreate the type of production he put together down the stretch of the 2022 season.

In all, this is a huge signing for the Vikings defense and further evidence of Minnesota’s desire to completely revamp their defense heading into the future. Signing a 25-year-old cornerback with huge upside is quite possibly the best example that we have of this.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.