EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings have added to their cornerbacks group.
Minnesota agreed to terms with free agent corner Byron Murphy, Jr., the team announced Wednesday.
Murphy comes to the Vikings after spending four seasons with the Cardinals, who drafted him 33rd overall in 2019. He played just the first nine games of last season due to injury, but he totaled 36 tackles, one-half sack, four passes defensed and two fumble recoveries, including one returned 59 yards for a winning touchdown against the Raiders.
In 2021, Murphy recorded career-highs in interceptions (4) and passes defensed (12).
View photos of Vikings CB Byron Murphy Jr. who the team agreed to terms on March 15.
Here are five things to know about the Vikings new cornerback:
1. Veteran presence
Murphy just celebrated his 25th birthday in January, so he's not exactly over the hill. But with 48 starts already under his belt, he immediately steps into the veteran-most role under new Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores.
He joins Kalon Barnes, Andrew Booth, Jr., Akayleb Evans and Tay Gowan, who are under contract for 2023.
Cornerbacks Patrick Peterson, Chandon Sullivan, Kris Boyd and Duke Shelley all have expiring contracts with the start of the 2023 New League Year. Worth noting is that the Vikings still could return players who remain unsigned by other teams after free agency begins.
2. Former Husky
Murphy stood out at the University of Washington, where he redshirted in 2016 before becoming a full-time starter for the Huskies.
He started all six games he played in 2017, missing some time due to injury, and started all 14 games in 2018 before opting to forgo his remaining eligibility and enter the 2019 NFL Draft.
Murphy was named to the 2018 First-Team All-America Team by Pro Football Focus and to the 2018 All-Pac-12 First Team. He also was named the 2018 Pac-12 Championship Game MVP.
3. Full-circle moment
Murphy transferred to Saguaro High School for his junior and senior seasons, and he impressed so much during the latter that he was named the Cardinals High School Player of the Year … four years before the Cardinals would draft him.
Murphy received a red No. 7 jersey from Cardinals Owner Michael Bidwell in 2015. It truly came full circle when the NFL modified jersey number rules in 2021, and Murphy switched to No. 7 for his final two seasons in Arizona.
"The first thing I remember was when he gave me the jersey at halftime of the Cardinals game, he gave me a No. 7 jersey," Murphy told ArizonaSports.com in 2021. "I still have it to this day.
"I was like, 'Man, if I ever get drafted to the Cardinals, I wanna wear No. 7. It's crazy how everything happened like that."
4. All-Combine Team
In Indianapolis in 2019, Murphy impressed during workouts and was one of two cornerbacks (joining Corey Ballentine) to make the All-Combine Team for NFL.com.
Draft analyst Chad Reuter wrote of Murphy:
"While his jumps (36.5-inch vertical, 10-0 broad) and 40 time (4.55 seconds) were pedestrian, Murphy was clearly the best corner on the field during drills; in fact, Ballentine (the other corner to make the team) was the only other guy in Murphy's area code. Murphy was a smooth mover in all position workouts and high-pointed or snatched the ball from the air like a receiver."
Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson and center Garrett Bradbury also made the 2019 All-Combine Team.
5. Dad life
Murphy has a 6-year-old son, Malakai, whom he calls his "twin."