Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn wouldn’t stop tweeting about his offseason workouts on Twitter over the last few months. It was clearly on his mind to improve physically after a down season in his first year with the Vikings.
Munnerlyn said he started his workout program right before the Super Bowl, earlier than when he’d normally begin to train. He felt he lost a step last year and wasn’t in the best shape physically.
“I didn’t play my best football,” Munnerlyn said. “I pulled my hamstring early, started on the [Physically Unable to Perform] list. I just wasn’t myself. I’ve gone back to the drawing board, and I’m excited again. I’m ready to play.”
He said he’s dropped 10-12 pounds and regained his speed. He revamped his diet, calling it the “LeBron James Diet” where he cut out red meat another other food items he enjoyed eating.
Munnerlyn, a seventh-round pick out of South Carolina in 2009, inked a three-year deal worth just over $11 million with the Vikings last offseason. He felt the increase in salary changed him mentally last offseason.
“I’ve joked with the guys about last year saying, ‘I got a little new money last year and kind of got new to me,’” Munnerlyn said. “…It was a little different. I wasn’t used to that. I wasn’t use to it. But now I’m back to the drawing board, back to my roots.”
Munnerlyn said he’s out to prove he can once again be used as an outside cornerback and a nickel back. Among his doubters include Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, who said at the Senior Bowl in January that Munnerlyn played out of position last season. Listed at 5-9 and 195 pounds, Munnerlyn has been knocked as just a nickel cornerback throughout his career mainly due to his size.
“I just don’t see myself as a nickel back,” Munnerlyn said. “That’s just me. I see myself as an every-down corner. I want to be on the field every single down. But if the process work out and I’m just a nickel, I’m going to be the best nickel I can be. I’m going to be the best nickel in the NFL, that’s how I look at it.”
The Wild/Blackhawks series schedule, as of 4:45 p.m Monday stillllllllll isn’t ouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuutttttt.
This is an irritant for some of us, either personally or professionally (especially Russo, who not only has to make travel plans and crank out stories but also has to field 800 questions every minute about the schedule).
But for one guy on Twitter, it appears to have bigger implications:
@Russostrib @PAOnTheMic @ericnordoKFAN when does rd2 schedule get released? My wedding is Friday night. Need to know about rescheduling it.
— Ben Hause (@Bfhause) April 27, 2015
I asked him if he was serious, but I haven’t heard back. What I do know is this:
He’d never forget Friday, May 1, 2015, when the Wild went into Chicago and took Game 1 against the Blackhawks. Best day of his life.
Rick Spielman is known for his daring draft-night trades. In the past three years, he has traded back into the first round to select safety Harrison Smith, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The jury is still out on the talented Patterson, but trading up to draft Smith was a smart move and a year into his career it looks like Bridgewater could be a pretty good one, too.
We could see another Vikings trade Thursday night. But this year, a trade-down seems more likely.
For starters, the Vikings only have seven draft picks and Spielman likes to come out of the draft with nine or 10 rookies. The Vikings are also picking at No. 11 overall, a draft slot that could be prime position for a trade-down if a talented wide receiver or pass rusher does not go in the top 10.
So what might need to happen for the Vikings to trade down Thursday night? How far might they be willing to drop? And who would they target then? In the final edition of “Off the Board,” I’ll stack the board for a possible scenario and take a guess at someone the Vikings could get in a trade-down.
1. Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State. Winston remains the favorite to go first.
2. Titans: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon. As I said in the previous installment, I believe Mariota will likely go second. The question is to whom? We’ll keep the Titans in this slot and give them the QB.
3. Jaguars: Dante Fowler, DE/OLB, Florida. The Jaguars need a pass rusher to help take their defense to the next level. I’m not sure who they prefer, but Fowler is the top one for many analysts.
4. Raiders: Leonard Williams, DE, USC. The Raiders need receiver help, but they can put that off for a round or two and instead grab Williams, whom some feel is the best prospect in this draft.
5. Redskins: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama. Wide receiver isn’t a glaring short-term need for them, with DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon around. But Cooper may be too good to pass up.
6. Jets: Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska. After addressing the cornerback and wide receiver positions in free agency, the Jets are free to add Gregory to a defense that should be good in 2015.
7. Bears: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia. The Bears get a big WR to replace Brandon Marshall.
8. Falcons: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia. If you believe the draft buzz, Gurley’s stock is on the rise. And it would make sense if the Falcons wanted to balance out their offense with a runner like him.
9. Giants: Danny Shelton, NT, Washington. The Giants add this beefy nose tackle to the mix.
10. Rams: La’El Collins, OT, LSU. The Rams took an offensive lineman last year in Greg Robinson. Their offensive line still has holes that need to be addressed. Collins could slot in somewhere.
11. Saints (trade with Vikings): Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson. The Vikings, with players such as Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes, Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff and Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker still on the board, pick up a 2015 fourth-round pick from the Saints to drop back two spots. The Saints, in need of playmakers on defense, then select Beasley.
12. Browns: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville. Welp, there goes Parker. The Browns need help at wide receiver and are expected to use one of their two first-round picks on that position.
13. Chargers (trade with Vikings): Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin. The Vikings trade down again, picking up a pair of third-day picks to do so. And the Chargers get their new back in Gordon.
14. Dolphins: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State. And there goes Waynes, too. The Vikings have interest in Waynes, but we don’t know for sure just how strong their interest is. Still, despite Waynes and Parker being gone, there should still be players that interest the Vikings at No. 17.
15. 49ers: Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon. They take Armstead, who doesn’t appear to be a fit here.
16. Texans: Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida. A pick before the Vikings are back on the block, the Texans take this speedy but raw wide receiver to help them replace Andre Johnson.
17. Vikings: Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa. After trading twice and dropping down six spots — and picking up three 2015 draft picks in the process — the Vikings are still in position to draft Scherff. Or, if they prefer, they could address their defense with Washington cornerback Marcus Peters or Missouri defensive end Shane Ray. Since left guard is their most glaring need still, we will give them Scherff. And the Vikings will now have nine other selections to take care of business in this draft.
OK, your turn. Leave a comment to tell me who you would want the Vikings to pick in this scenario.
This is not my idea. Others had it before me, and specifically I’m stealing it from FSN’s Tyler Mason, who tweeted:
#Packers announce Brett Favre’s name and retired No. 4 will be unveiled at Lambeau Field on Thanksgiving vs. Bears.
— Paul Imig (@Paulimig) April 27, 2015
#Vikings should retire it the week earlier…when the Packers are in town. https://t.co/ITFdlaS31T — Tyler Mason (@FSNtylermason) April 27, 2015
I’m officially obsessed with this idea — not because it would ever happen and not even because the Vikings would or should consider retiring Favre’s jersey.
It’s just that I relished the awkward relationship between many Packers fans and Favre that developed during his bitter divorce from the team and launched into a new stratosphere when he joined the Vikings after a year with the Jets.
Ultimately, the correct and polite thing is for the sides to mend fences. Favre is an all-time Packers great, a fan favorite for so many years, and enough time has passed for both to forgive and forget.
Unless … the Vikings creep in right before the Packers retire his jersey this year and — as Tyler suggests — retire his No. 4 in a ceremony in a game just four days earlier, when Green Bay is in town.
Brett doesn’t even need to be there or acknowledge it, but you know he couldn’t stay away. They could have it in a parking lot for all I care. If you want to rekindle this bad blood and never let it die, here is your vehicle.
Heading into the draft, we are giving the recent history at each of the Vikings’ seven draft slots.
We continue this series with pick No. 76, the third of the Vikings’ seven selections. Immediate expectations should be high for this pick. In the past four years, two of the 76th picks – Keenan Allen in San Diego and Will Rackley in Jacksonville – have started 14 games as a rookie. Last year’s 76th pick – Detroit center Travis Swanson – started five games and has now officially replaced longtime veteran Dominic Raiola.
Before we look at the good, bad and ugly, here is a list of the last 10 players to go 76th overall:
2014: Travis Swanson, C, Lions
2013: Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers
2012: Brandon Brooks, G, Texans
2011: Will Rackley, G, Jaguars
2010: Chad Jones, DB, Giants
2009: DeAndre Levy, LB, Lions
2008: Brad Cottam, TE, Chiefs
2007: Jason Hill, WR, 49ers
2006: Anthony Schlegel, LB, Jets
2005: Karl Paymah, DB, Broncos
The good… There are some choices. Allen helped prove that good receivers can come from beyond the first round when he had eight touchdowns and a 1,000-yard season as a rookie. Brooks has started 30 games the past two years. But the winner is Levy, who has started 82 of 89 games, including 10 as a rookie, and remains a starter for the Lions.
The bad… Again, there are choices. Paymah started only seven games in his six-year career, although two of them came in 2009 while helping the Vikings reach the NFC title game. Cottam started eight games and lasted only two years with Kansas City before his career ended. Hill had only 78 catches in a seven-year career with three teams. But we’ll go with Schlegel, who made it only one year with the Jets. He played just one more year in Cincinnati and was done after five career starts.
The ugly… Not really a choice here. Jones not only didn’t play for the Giants in 2010, he didn’t play for any NFL team. Ever.
Having the Vikings ever picked 76th? Yes. Three times. Neither defensive back Bob Hall (1966) nor receiver Eddie Hackett (1971) ever played for the Vikings or the NFL. Linebacker Mike McGill (1968) played through the 1972 season.
Best 76th pick in NFL history? There isn’t a Hall of Famer or an historically great player who jumps out. In fact, going back to the beginning of the draft in 1936, only two players picked 76th overall have gone on to make first-team All-Pro. And those two guys — Bills defensive end Ron Snidow, drafted in 1963, and Seahawks linebacker Fredd Young, drafted in 1984 – made first-team only once. Other choices are 49ers receiver John Taylor (1986) and quarterback Chris Chandler, who played 18 seasons for multiple teams and (look away, this is going to sting) upset the 15-1 Vikings in the NFC title game during the 1998 season. But our pick is running back Ahman Green. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, who picked him in 1998, Green’s four Pro Bowls and the majority of his 9,205 rushing yards and 60 touchdowns came in Green Bay.
Big thanks to Pro Football Reference and their invaluable Draft Finder for making our work easy.