We’ve reached the top 10 of our countdown of the top 25 Vikings of 2014.
Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: Captain Munnerlyn is not Antoine Winfield.
No one in their right mind expects Captain Munnerlyn to be Antoine Winfield. Asking for that would be unreasonable and silly.
And anyway the Vikings really don’t need Munnerlyn to be Winfield. They just need him to be Munnerlyn.
They need him to bring some stability to the cornerback position after last year’s fiasco. They need him to bring some fire and energy to the defense. They need him to help establish a defensive identity.
Mike Zimmer says he wants his defense to be fast, physical and smart. Munnerlyn will be a key component of the building process.
Already, Munnerlyn’s impact is being felt by the players around him. His teammates have all remarked about how loud he his, how much he likes to talk.
Munnerlyn has the game to back up the talk. His role will be Winfield-like: an outside corner who kicks inside against the slot. Who covers all those quick, shifty slot receivers. Roams the middle of the field. Plays the run. Leads the secondary.
He won’t be as good as Winfield, arguably the greatest corner in team history. But he is a good player and he has the strong personality needed to lead. The Vikings needed someone like Munnerlyn to be the glue of their secondary. Now they just need to build around him.