Captain Munnerlyn visited with the Minnesota Vikings Thursday. By early evening, reports swirled that he canceled a visit with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Minutes later, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported that the 25-year-old cornerback signed a three-year deal with the Vikings. Rapoport later added that the deal "could be worth as much as $15 million."
Munnerlyn was an intriguing prospect out of South Carolina in the 2009 draft, but wasn’t selected until the seventh round. He ascended the depth chart and became the full-time starter for the Carolina Panthers during the 2010 season. He even started four games as a rookie
The 5-8, 195-pound 25-year-old recorded a career-high 74 tackles and 3.5 sacks and tied a career-high 12 passes defensed last season. Overall his numbers have gradually increased in each of his five NFL seasons.
The Vikings were one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL last season and cornerback was a major need to fill when the new NFL season officially opened on Tuesday. The Vikings were not in on the bigger names on Tuesday, but were patient and may have landed the best.
Pro Football Focus rated him as the 11th best cornerback in the NFL last season - just ahead of Alterraun Verner. He is an aggressive and physical corner, despite his size. The Vikings have had bigger corners in the past, but none that seemed to like contact. Munnerlyn is smaller, but he and Xavier Rhodes will be one of the more physical pairs of corners in the league.