The cornerback position has dominated many of the headlines in the early days of free agency, with Darrelle Revis and Aqib Talib joining the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos, respectively.
You can now officially add Captain Munnerlyn to that list, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network and NFL.com:
Captain Munnerlyn’s three-year #Vikings deal could be worth as much as $15M, per source. Reemerged last year, should help big-time.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2014
The Minnesota Vikings gave fans an inside look at his signing:
Tom Pelissero of USA Today reported the details of the deal on Friday:
Captain Munnerlyn's deal with #Vikings: 3 years, $11.25M, $4.45M gtd. Can earn another $3.3M in incentives, escalators.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 14, 2014
Munnerlyn gets $3.5M in first year. Has $1M portion of 2015 base gtd for injury only at signing. $1M signing bonus. Could be 1 year, $3.5M.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 14, 2014
The Vikings ranked an abysmal 31st in the league in passing yards allowed per game in 2013, so improving the secondary was near the top of their list of offseason priorities. Adding the 25-year-old Munnerlyn will certainly help in that department.
The former seventh-round draft pick out of South Carolina was an important part of a stingy Carolina Panthers defense last year, finishing with two interceptions and 12 passes defended.
Munnerlyn's decision to sign with Minnesota is interesting, given the comments he made about the organization to reporters after the Panthers lost in the playoffs, via David Newton of ESPN.com:
It's home for me. It's the team that drafted me. It's kind of tough to leave this place, man.
We've got something special going. I know the guys in the secondary, there's a lot of us up. People call us the 'Legion of Whom,' but man, I wouldn't trade those guys for anybody in the world, for anybody.
Anytime a multiyear deal is signed in the physically grueling NFL, there is an element of risk.
However, Munnerlyn has played in at least 14 games in every one of his five seasons and started all 16 contests in 2013. The combination of effective and consistent play, along with durability, is highly coveted in the NFL, and that is exactly what Munnerlyn provides for the Minnesota secondary.
What’s more, the NFC North is loaded with elite wide receivers.
The Vikings have to go up against the likes of Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb twice a season, which is partially why their pass defense was so suspect in 2013.
Munnerlyn gives Minnesota a young corner who can help stop, or at least contain, some of the top wideouts in the game for the foreseeable future.