Captain Munnerlyn returns to first team nickel for Vikings


There’s been a lot of speculation about the status of Captain Munnerlyn after Mike Zimmer’s decision to relegate him to second team defensive duty for three straight preseason games.

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Some thought maybe Zimmer was just trying to get extra reps for rookie Trae Waynes by playing him with the first team instead of Munnerlyn.

Others wondered if Munnerlyn wasn’t so far in Zimmer’s doghouse for one reason or another that he was actually on his way out of Minnesota.

Well I can report that whatever Zimmer was trying to accomplish by dropping Munnerlyn on the depth chart in preseason must have been accomplished, because Saturday night vs. Dallas, Munnerlyn was back with the first nickel unit.

Not only was Munnerlyn out there with the first nickel unit, he made a big third down tackle to force a Dallas punt. This after he was called for a holding penalty that wiped out a would-be Anthony Barr sack.

Of course we’ve been cautioned by Mike Zimmer not to read too much into the way he shuffles around his defensive lineups. So we won’t read anything into the fact that Captain Munnerlyn is back out there in nickel with Xavier Rhodes and Terence Newman.

We won’t read anything into the fact that, just a couple days after George Edwards said the Vikings were “aiming” to have Trae Waynes start, they did not play Trae Waynes with their #1 defensive unit.

We won’t conclude from tonight’s lineup that Mike Zimmer has elected to do the sensible (and inevitable) thing and put his faith in his veterans while his rookie works on his game with an eye toward being ready somewhere down the road.

We’re not reading anything into this development except that, for one night, Munnerlyn was back where we expected him to be.

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