Byron Murphy Praises New Vikings Teammate: ‘Always Ready to Work’

Byron Murphy Jr., Minnesota Vikings

Getty Byron Murphy #7 of the Minnesota Vikings.

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Byron Murphy logged 902 snaps on defense last season, per Pro Football Focus. He is credited with lining up in at least five different positions – more when breaking them into specific alignments.

Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores likes to lean into that varied deployment, Murphy says, and it could lead to a slight change in the corner’s role next season thanks to a new addition.

Specifically, Shaquill Griffin’s signing could allow Murphy to get back to a more familiar role.

“Obviously, we got Shaq. Older vet guy who could give us more knowledge every single day. We got some younger guys that’s coming in Day 1 making plays,” Murphy told reporters on May 29. “Just a good group of new guys that’s coming in, learning the defense. And it’s just crazy that we’re already kind of clicking and getting on the same page.”

Griffin signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Vikings in free agency. He split last season between the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans. Griffin also spent time with the Jacksonville Jaguars after beginning his career as a third-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks.

“That’s one of the guys I’ve been watching. He was in Seattle so. I went to UDub (Washington), kind of watched his film in college. So I kind of known him since. But to have him here, just knowing what type of guy he is. Cool guy. Funny, but he also – he’s always ready to work,” Murphy said. “Just to get the knowledge from him. He played a lot of ball. So just to have me and all of the young guys get the knowledge from him is the best part and other the unique stuff.”

Byron Murphy’s Versatility an Asset for Vikings

Byron Murphy Jr., Minnesota Vikings

GettyByron Murphy Jr. #7 of the Minnesota Vikings.

Griffin will be leaned upon in more than one way. His addition could also allow Murphy to play even more nickelback next season.

It’s a role he is familiar with since his time with the Arizona Cardinals.

Murphy got back to it last season, seeing roughly 80 more snaps in the slot compared to the 2022 season, per Pro Football Focus. But he was still a ways off from his career-high mark inside of 572 snaps, which he set in 2020, his second year in the league.

“You can put me wherever on the field. I’ll play wherever you put me. I’m going to go play and try my best at it,” Murphy said. “Obviously, the slot got a little bit more room. And then, you’re going to guard some smaller, faster guys; twitcher guys. But at the end of the day, you’re a DB. You got to lock up inside or outside.”

More slot duty for Murphy could require 15-game starter Akayleb Evans to improve upon the 70% completion he allowed in his coverage last season, per Pro Football Reference.

Otherwise, Andrew Booth, Mekhi Blackmon, or even rookie Khyree Jackson must step up.

It is a critical season for Murphy. He is heading into the final year of a two-year, $17.5 million contract. He will count $10.9 million against the salary cap this season. Perhaps more importantly, he will count $4.2 million against the cap next season without an extension.

There are also payments of $1.4 million in 2026 and 2027.

Jordan Addison Looking ‘More Explosive’ at Line of Scrimmage

Jordan Addison, Minnesota Vikings

GettyJordan Addison #3 of the Minnesota Vikings.

With Justin Jefferson staying away from team activities, and tight end T.J. Hockeson still recovering from a torn ACL and MCL, second-year wide receiver Jordan Addison reprised his role as the Vikings’ top option in OTAs. That means he has seen plenty of Murphy in OTAs.

Addison was the Vikings’ No. 1 wide receiver for seven weeks last season as Jefferson dealt with a hamstring injury and could be even more critical with Hockenson ailing.

He appears poised to handle whatever is thrown at him this season.

“That’s one of the receivers when I line up it’s like, ‘Alright, I better be ready to go.’ Because he’s a great guy, great receiver that’s going to you know give you good releases off the ball. Good route runner. He’s all the above to me as a receiver. But, yeah, when I go against him it’s just we got to make sure we get some work done with JA,” Murphy said.

“I just feel like he came back even more explosive, more faster with his releases and all that. Already coming in OTAs, I just feel like he been working on his craft a lot.”

Addison credited Wide Receivers Coach Keenan McCardell with his progress.

He also noted the lessons he’s learned from Jefferson, with the three-time Pro Bowler encouraging the youngster to “trust my feet,” Addison told reporters on May 29. His breakout would help ease the Vikings’ transition to a new quarterback.

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