After signing a decent free agent deal prior to the 2014 NFL season, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn had a pretty rough first season with the Minnesota Vikings. Following his first season as a Viking, Munnerlyn admitted that he didn't always listen to what head coach Mike Zimmer was telling him, and vowed to do better in 2015.
Not surprisingly, it appears that listening to the guy that's been an NFL coach for over twenty years is a pretty good idea, as Munnerlyn has a nice bounce-back year in 2015. Over at SI.com, they've recognized that, and have named Munnerlyn one of the ten best slot defenders in the NFL.
Munnerlyn is perhaps best-known for the pass over the middle he allowed to Doug Baldwin in the wild-card round last season, but it wasn't his fault that Baldwin practically jumped his own height and one-handed the catch. For the most part, Munnerlyn was a very reliable slot defender last season, giving up three touchdowns and 49 catches, but doing so as the league's most-used inside cornerback in 2015 with 444 snaps and 74 targets inside. Munnerlyn has a tendency to give up too much leverage at the top of crossing routes, and he can get a little grabby as a result, but he's developed into an above-average man for the position.
In 2016, Munnerlyn is in a bit of an interesting position. He's in the final year of that contract he signed before the 2014 season, and is still young enough where he might be able to get one more decent NFL contract before his time in the league is up. However, it would appear that the Vikings drafted Munnerlyn's replacement back in May with the second round selection of Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander. Alexander seems to be a similar player to Munnerlyn, and while he may not jump onto the field right away, the Vikings clearly have him as part of the team's long-term plan at the cornerback position.
Hopefully Munnerlyn will make the Vikings' decision a little more difficult by continuing along the trajectory he started last season.