News

Print
RSS

Munnerlyn Receives Award, Expects 'Tough Challenge' from Cobb

Posted Dec 31, 2015

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Captain Munnerlyn’s height, or lack thereof, is one of the first things people notice.

The second most-noticeable attribute of the 5-foot-9 cornerback is a wide smile, seen when he makes fun of himself or kids teammates, and the third is that he’s rarely short on words.

Munnerlyn was chosen by the Twin Cities chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America as the winner of the 2015 Korey Stringer Good Guy Award.

The award was established in 2001 in memory of Stringer, a former first-round pick who tragically passed away Aug. 1, 2001.

“It’s an honor to get this award. I’ve heard Korey was a great guy on and off the field,” Munnerlyn said a few steps from a locker that’s been preserved in Stringer’s honor. “I’ve heard great things about him, and I’m truly honored to get this award.”

Munnerlyn arrived in Minnesota in 2014 via free agency after five seasons with Carolina. He was a willing interview after wins and losses and in spite of a level of play that he didn’t think was his best. He returned this season refocused and has been a key defender in helping Minnesota’s continued improvements on defense and isn’t camera shy.

“When I got here, y’all took me in with open arms,” Munnerlyn said. You always ask me the tough questions, and I was OK with it. When I had an off year last year, no matter what, y’all still came and talked to me and made me feel wanted.

“This year, I’m playing a whole lot better, thank God, and y’all have really been great to me this year,” he continued. “I want to thank [the media] for voting for me, and I’m truly honored to get this award. I feel like it’s a true blessing, so thank you.”

Dave Campbell of the Associated Press introduced Munnerlyn and presented him with a plaque.

“This was probably one of the most-runaway winners we’ve had in a long time,” Campbell said.

Munnerlyn and teammates have an opportunity to become more decorated this weekend when the Vikings (10-5) visit the Packers (10-5) for a game at Lambeau Field that will determine the winner of the NFC North.

Munnerlyn said the challenge will start with Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers, and he’s likely to draw receiver Randall Cobb in coverage.

“We’ve got to try to contain this guy with pass rushing, cubing the pocket and making him step up,” Munnerlyn said. “You’ve got to wrap him up. You can’t let him extend plays because that’s when he finds the open guys. In the back end, we’ve got to cover up the guys, cover until you hear the whistle. You can’t go out and think the play is over. That’s when he hits you for a 60 or 70-yard touchdown, so we’ve got to compete at a very high level.”

Munnerlyn’s previous coverage of Cobb dates to their college careers when Munnerlyn was at South Carolina and Cobb played for Kentucky.

“Captain, me and him have been having battles since college so we have a pretty good understanding of each other,” Cobb said during a conference call this week. “He’s a very strong and physical guy in the nickel. He makes it difficult.”

Munnerlyn said he expects a “tough challenge” from Cobb.

“I know he’s a shifty guy. I’ve always got to keep my eyes on this guy,” Munnerlyn said. “I can’t peek at the quarterback or he’ll be gone, so I know it’s going to be a tough challenge, but at the same time, I’m ready for it. I’m built for things like this. The guys in the locker room, we fight hard. We feel like we’re capable of getting this win.”

About the Korey Stringer Good Guy Award

Korey Stringer was one of the most popular players in team history and conducted himself with professionalism, humor and honesty throughout his decorated career. The former Pro Bowl and All-Rookie honoree started 91 of his 93 career games.

KOREY STRINGER GOOD GUY AWARD WINNERS

2001

Byron Chamberlain

TE

2002

Matt Birk

C

2003

Daunte Culpepper

QB

2004

Daunte Culpepper

QB

2005

Koren Robinson

WR

2006

Antoine Winfield

CB

2007

Ben Leber

LB

2008

Bobby Wade

WR

2009

Visanthe Shiancoe

TE

2010

Ben Leber

LB

2011

Percy Harvin

WR

2012

Chad Greenway

LB

2013

Kevin Williams

DT

2014

Brian Robison

DE

2015

Captain Munnerlyn

CB