7 free-agent cornerbacks the Vikings could sign in 2023
By Chris Schad
Byron Murphy Jr.
2022 Team: Arizona Cardinals
One of the things Brian Flores said he was looking for during his introductory press conference were players that showed versatility. While some players could carry more upside, Byron Murphy Jr. could be a solid addition to a defense that needs impact players.
Murphy played mostly on the outside last season but played more in the slot during his first three seasons with the Cardinals. Murphy posted the highest PFF grades of his career in overall (66.7) and pass coverage (63.9), but he had issues in man coverage, allowing a 134.2 passer rating and four touchdowns in man coverage. Murphy’s numbers also come with a small sample size, as he was limited to 363 pass coverage snaps due to a back injury.
But at age 25, the Vikings will have a hard time finding players like him on the market. Another former second-round pick in 2019, Murphy is projected to get a contract with an average value of $8.75 million per season, but ESPN’s Matt Bowen believes that he would be a perfect fit for a team that relied on inexperienced corners on the outside and Chandon Sullivan’s 109.6 passer rating allowed in the slot last season.
“The Vikings would have to make some moves to create more money on the salary cap, but there’s a real need for coverage corners in Minnesota,” Bowen wrote. “…Murphy’s production took a hit this season, but he did record four interceptions and 12 pass breakups in 2021, and he has the man-coverage traits to play inside or outside the numbers.”