The Minnesota Vikings made a signing on Thursday that might not have gotten quite the attention of the Linval Joseph signing on Day One of free agency, but looks to be one that should make an impact for a team that was dreadful in the seconday in 2013.
Minnesota came to terms on a three-year contract with cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, a player that looks to have the ability to fill the slot cornerback role that Vikings' opponents exploited with alarming success last season. He's not a big guy, measuring in at about 5'8" and 190 pounds, but had himself a very good season in 2013. Pro Football Focus had him rated as the 8th-best corner available in free agency, and had this to say about him.
Captain Munnerlyn is another cornerback who came into his own in 2013. He was always a solid special teams contributor, but his play at corner finally lived up to expectations this year. His overall grade is a culmination of his balanced play. He graded positively in all phases; penalties, coverage and in run support. Despite being a little undersized, his +4.8 run grade tops anyone in this Top 10.
Hmmmm. . .an undersized corner that's solid in run support. Think we may have seen someone like that in Minnesota before. Quite recently, actually.
While they didn't assign an actual letter grade to the signing, PFF also had this to say about it in their free agency live blog.
After losing half of their defense to free agency the Minnesota Vikings continue to add components for Mike Zimmer to work with, penning Captain Munnerlyn to a three-year deal according to Ian Rapoport. Munnerlyn is a perfect fit for the Vikings and brings the ability to cover the slot, with a +10.1 PFF grade in 2013 and 406 snaps lining up inside (more than any other corner outside of Carlos Rogers). Overall he was our 11th-ranked corner a year ago, actually finishing just ahead of Alterraun Verner thanks to the new Buccaneers man slumping through December and some strong work in run defense. Minnesota's D still needs pieces, but the Vikings are doing work.
Again, it sounds pretty good to me.
One guy that wasn't super impressed with the move was Pete Prisco of CBS Sports. While he did give a lot of praise to the Linval Joseph signing on Day One of free agency, he's less enthusiastic about the Munnerlyn deal.
The Captain had a nice season for the Panthrs in 2013. The Vikings need help at the corner spot opposite Xavier Rhodes, so I get this. But there are some scouts who think Munnerlyn is just OK. They signed him for three years. Grade: B-minus
Well, can't win them all, I guess.
The folks over at Walter Football, on the other hand, were quite impressed with the signing, chalking it up as an A.
I love this signing for Minnesota. Captain Munnerlyn was one of the top cornerbacks at the start of free agency, and he was unquestionably the best player remaining at his position as of Thursday evening. Munnerlyn, who had an outstanding 2013 campaign, will only be 26 in April. Thus, the Vikings are getting him at an incredible price.
The secondary was a huge weakness for Minnesota this past season, but that no longer will be the case. Xavier Rhodes figures to be even better than he was in his terrific rookie season. Harrison Smith will be fully back from injury. And now Munnerlyn will be able to start across from Rhodes or cover slot receivers. If the Vikings upgrade the other safety position, their defensive backfield will suddenly be a major strength.
Defensive backfield as a strength for the Minnesota Vikings? Man, talk about something that probably hasn't been true for a long time.
I'll be on the lookout for other grades for this signing, and when I find them I'll add them here. But, for now, what do you think of this signing?