Undrafted pass rusher could end up being a total steal for the Vikings in 2024

Minnesota Vikings edge rusher Gabriel Murphy
Minnesota Vikings edge rusher Gabriel Murphy / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

Last season, linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. didn't let going undrafted get in the way of him becoming a Day 1 starter for the Minnesota Vikings. This year, pass rusher Gabriel Murphy has the potential to do something similar with the Vikings.

After he wasn't selected in the 2024 NFL Draft last month, Murphy quickly signed an undrafted contract with Minnesota. Almost immediately, the chatter began about how the Vikings landed a steal in the former UCLA pass rusher, as some believed he had the potential to be selected on Day 2 of this year's draft.

Judging by Pace beginning the 2023 campaign as a starter, Minnesota's current coaches aren't against giving an undrafted rookie significant playing time. So, if Murphy does enough to impress the Vikings during the next few months, we shouldn't be surprised if he's given a number of meaningful opportunities to make plays on defense when the team begins their 2024 regular season in September.

How can Gabriel Murphy make an immediate impact on the Minnesota Vikings?

Minnesota fans were ecstatic when the team was able to land former Alabama pass rusher Dallas Turner with their second selection in the opening round of this year's NFL Draft. Believe it or not, however, Turner actually finished with fewer pressures (55) than Gabriel (61) last season.

Now, Turner had a few more duties on defense at Alabama than just rushing the passer, so that certainly contributed to a lower number of pressures than Gabriel. Still, it's exciting to realize that the Vikings were able to add an undrafted player to their defense this year who had similar pass-rushing numbers to the guy they drafted in the first round last month.

In addition to the pressures he generated, the 6-foot-3, 260-pound Gabriel also finished with 38 tackles (16 for a loss), eight sacks, and two pass deflections last season.

Gabriel would likely have to have an amazing training camp and preseason to begin the 2024 regular season as a starter on Minnesota's defense. The chances of that actually happening currently seem low, but him making an impact as a situational pass rusher for the Vikings next season is not something that seems far-fetched at all.

With the way Minnesota defensive coordinator Brian Flores likes to confuse opposing offenses with a variety of different pressure looks, Gabriel probably couldn't have landed in a more perfect situation. If he does enough this summer to earn playing time during the season, Murphy has the potential to help Flores transform the Vikings' pass rush into one of the best in the NFL.

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