Former Cardinals CB Byron Murphy Jr. finalizing deal with Vikings, per report

Mar 14, 2023, 7:27 PM | Updated: 7:44 pm
Cornerback Byron Murphy #7 of the Arizona Cardinals intercepts a pass during the first half of the ...
Cornerback Byron Murphy #7 of the Arizona Cardinals intercepts a pass during the first half of the NFL preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at State Farm Stadium on August 20, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Free agent cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. is headed to the Minnesota Vikings after spending the last four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Tuesday.

Rapoport said that Murphy Jr. and the Vikings were finalizing a two-year contract worth approximately $22 million.

Murphy Jr. — a Scottsdale native who attended Saguaro High School — was a second-round pick out of Washington in 2019 by then-general manager Steve Keim.

He started 48 games over the first four years of his NFL career, including nine in 2022. His season ended after Week 9 due to a back injury.

When heathy, Murphy Jr. had four passes defensed and two fumble recoveries last year. He scored the walk-off touchdown in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders, recovering a fumble caused by linebacker Isaiah Simmons and taking it to the house in overtime.

Despite the missed time, Murphy posted a Pro Football Focus defensive grade of 66.7, a career best.

The year before last was Murphy’s most productive as a pro behind four interceptions and 12 passes defensed. He also returned a pick for a touchdown in 2021. Murphy wasn’t a fixed presence in the defense by any means, working between both the slot (495) and along the outside (392).

Murphy Jr. was a starter off the bat in 2019 after Patrick Peterson was suspended and Robert Alford missed the season with a broken leg.

He reverted back to a nickel role in 2020 before becoming a full-time starter again in 2021.

Murphy Jr. played in 56 games with Arizona during his tenure.

Arizona’s cornerbacks corps under contract entering the new league year involves Marco Wilson and Christian Matthew. The team also signed Nate Hairston to a futures contract in January.

Since the legal tampering period began on Monday, the Cardinals have lost two defensive starters, with DE Zach Allen joining the Denver Broncos.

Arizona also officially re-signed RT Kelvin Beachum, K Matt Prater and RB Corey Clement and reportedly agreed to terms with RG Will Hernandez.

Before the legal-tampering window opened, the Cardinals had already made roster changes on both sides of the football.

Defensively, Arizona opted to cut starting outside linebacker Markus Golden last Friday, freeing up $3.08 million in cap relief with a dead money hit of $1.08 million.

The linebacker’s release came two days after Arizona cut bait with wide receiver Chosen Anderson. The move provided another $12 million in cap space for GM Monti Ossenfort to work with.

Fellow wideout Greg Dortch, however, is returning for another season in the desert after the exclusive rights free agent signed his one-year tender with the team on Friday.

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