AP source: Vikings add ex-Cards CB Murphy to begin revamp

Published 2:56 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2023

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The Minnesota Vikings have started their latest secondary revamp by agreeing to terms on a contract with former Arizona cornerback Byron Murphy, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

The person confirmed the agreement to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because contracts can’t be signed until after free agency begins Wednesday afternoon. Murphy will get a two-year deal worth about $22 million, the person said.

The 25-year-old replaced Patrick Peterson in the Cardinals’ starting lineup in 2021 when Peterson joined the Vikings. Now, the 2019 second-round draft pick will take over for Peterson again. Murphy was limited to nine games in 2022, when he was hampered by a back injury. He had a career-high four interceptions in 2021.

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As the Vikings transition their scheme under new defensive coordinator Brian Flores away from the zone-heavy strategy they used last year, Murphy ought to fit well with man-to-man coverage skills. Peterson departed for Pittsburgh.

The Vikings also cut cornerback Cameron Dantzler Sr. last week, and Duke Shelley, Chandon Sullivan and Kris Boyd are set to become unrestricted free agents. They’re counting on major roles for Andrew Booth Jr. and Akayleb Evans, whose rookie seasons in 2022 were largely limited by injuries. Booth was drafted in the second round and Evans was drafted in the fourth round last year.

With the departures of free agents Peterson and defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson and the release of linebacker Eric Kendricks, the Vikings are in the midst of a significant redo of a defense that was one of the league’s worst in 2022. They earlier agreed to terms with former New Orleans defensive end Marcus Davenport.

With Davenport, Murphy and tight end Josh Oliver, the Vikings in their second year under general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah have targeted younger free agents with higher upside on buy-low deals, with all three of those players having either underperformed in recent years or been set back by injuries.