Captain Munnerlyn

NFC Notes: 49ers, Munnerlyn, Saints, Eagles

Recently, Kyle Shanahan expressed a desire to steer clear of a stopgap quarterback, but Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee notes that with so much uncertainty surrounding the 2017 college crop of QBs, the 49ers have to invest in a veteran to potentially be their 2017 starter. Barrows writes Shanahan will look to sign Brian Hoyer or Matt Schaub (or possibly both). Each worked with Shanahan for a time, with Hoyer starting the bulk of the games for the 2014 Browns and Schaub spending time with the new 49ers coach with both the Texans and Falcons. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the 35-year-old Schaub’s name linked to San Francisco as a bridge-type passer, either. The 31-year-old Hoyer, though, figures to draw more interest after producing as a middling starter the past two years.

Here’s more from the NFC.

  • Captain Munnerlyn awaits re-entering the free agency scene, with the Vikings cornerback tentatively expecting to test the market for the second time in his career. The 28-year-old corner would enjoy a return to Minnesota but appears to acknowledge that’s not a given. “Hopefully they value my position, value my talent and bring me back,” Munnerlyn said, via Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “I’m an older guy, I want to win. I definitely want to win. In Minnesota, I definitely feel like we have a chance to win.” The seasoned slot specialist will be set for his ninth season. He profiles more as a player who will score a medium-length contract, as he did when he signed three-year Vikings pact in 2014, on a market housing more highly touted UFAs.
  • The Saints will look to upgrade their pass rush, Sean Payton told the team’s website. “It’s a must. We’ve got to find a pass-rusher,” Payton said. “Now, whether that comes from free agency or that comes from the draft, we have to be better at affecting the quarterback. Last year if you took hurries, sacks, pressures – a study of all three things that can happen with a rush – we were in the bottom third of the league and that has to get better.” The Saints ranked 27th last season with 30 sacks. Cameron Jordan remains under contract, but New Orleans has Nick Fairley (6.5 sacks last season) looming as a UFA and no surefire answer opposite Jordan. No other defensive end recorded two sacks, but promising rookie defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins accrued four despite missing much of the season with a broken leg.
  • One veteran who served as part of the Saints’ defensive end equation wants to continue playing. Darryl Tapp would prefer to continue his career on a contending team, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News tweets. Tapp, 32, said he might re-sign with the Saints, although it’s not known if the interest is mutual, and is eyeing two more seasons before retiring. The veteran defensive end finished with just a half-sack last season but graded out reasonably well despite being a late-summer signing, coming in at 44th on Pro Football Focus’ edge defender rankings.
  • While agreeing with Howie Roseman that adding aging skill-position targets around Carson Wentz doesn’t make much sense,’s Eliot Shorr-Parks writes the Eagles should keep their present veteran-laden offensive line in front of Wentz. Jason Kelce surfaced as a cut candidate earlier this offseason, while the Eagles have approached perennial Pro Bowler Jason Peters about taking a pay cut entering his age-35 season. PFF and Football Outsiders considered the Eagles line a top-10 unit, and with Lane Johnson figuring to be available for more games in 2017, the group should help further. But Kelce, and possibly Peters, could be cap casualties — something Shorr-Parks categorizes as a “massive risk” for the Eagles — as a result of Philadelphia’s spending spree last year. Kelce’s only set to count $6.2MM against the Eagles’ 2017 cap, but Peters stands to comprise an Eagles-high $11.7MM. Philly is projected to have barely $9MM in cap space.

NFC Notes: Giants, Peppers, Munnerlyn

Some assorted notes from around the NFC…

  • Paul Schwartz of the New York Post estimates that the Giants will have around $48MM in cap room this offseason. The team can clear up additional room by parting ways with several players, including Will Beatty, Jon Beason and Geoff Schwartz. Still, former sports agent Joel Corry told Schwartz that it will be tough for the organization to completely revamp their roster in a single offseason. “It’s hard to remake a team that way,’’ Corry said. “Usually it doesn’t work out for you. You’re better off building through the draft if you can, but the Giants have so many deficiencies they’re gonna have to dip their toe into free agency, I would think.’’
  • Meanwhile, Schwartz reiterates that the Giants aren’t expect to part ways with general manager Jerry Reese.
  • At 36-year-old, Packers linebacker Julius Peppers still feels great, and the veteran told’s Rob Demovsky that he plans on playing next season. “I feel great now,” Peppers said Thursday. “If I was making the decision today, yeah, of course I can play another year. But we’ll see. We’ll see when the time comes.”
  • Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn isn’t a big fan of cold weather, and he admitted that he didn’t know his team would be moving to the open TCF Bank Stadium for 2014 and 2015. “I didn’t know that we were playing outside until after I signed,” he told Chris Tomasson of “Seriously, I didn’t know. … It was known then, but I didn’t know. I hate cold weather.”

NFC Notes: 49ers, Walsh, Vikings, Lions

Despite suffering three concussions during his two years in the league, 49ers safety Eric Reid said he hasn’t thought about retiring. The comments come after former teammate Chris Borland hung up his cleats due to concerns over brain trauma.

“No. Not at all,” Reid told Eric Branch of“Every guy has to evaluate their decision, whether it’s a concussion, whether it’s an ankle sprain, a torn ACL. With any injury, you have to evaluate yourself and make a personal decision.”

Let’s check out some more notes from the NFC…

  • 49ers nose tackle Mike Purcell is set to play a bigger role this season, and Branch notes that the former undrafted rookie is going to have to adjust to the spotlight. “I just want to stay humble and keep working,” said the 24-year-old. “My goal right now is to show I can do it back-to-back.”
  • Vikings kicker Blair Walsh missed three field goals during last night’s game, and Matt Vessel of the Star Tribune says the team should definitely be concerned about the position. Walsh inked a four-year extension with Minnesota in July.
  • Even with the emergence of Vikings rookie receiver Stefon Diggs, Vessel believes Marcus Sherels‘ roster spot is still secure. The writer cites the player’s production on both the kick and punt return units.
  • Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn could very well be a backup for the Vikings, notes Vessel. However, even with the veteran’s $3.45M salary, the writer believes the team should retain their depth.
  • Jermelle Cudjo has been a revelation during Lions camp, and’s Michael Rothstein says the player is ready for an opportunity. “I’m just hungry, you know,” Cudjo said. “Sitting out last year, having a chip on my shoulder and I just want to come out here and blessed with the opportunity to showcase my skill.”

North Notes: Steelers, Vikings, Bengals, Pack

A look at what’s happening in the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • The Steelers’ defense isn’t going to be one whose linemen merely occupy opposing blockers. Instead, new coordinator Keith Butler is encouraging them to attack the football, writes Ray Frager of“Coach Buts said early on, ‘I’m not going to hold you back. I want the linebackers to fend for themselves. I expect you guys to make plays for yourself,” lineman Cameron Heyward said. Heyward added that he’s excited about Butler’s philosophy. “I’m salivating. I can’t wait until the season starts.”
  • The Packers have a breakout candidate in second-year wide receiver Davante Adams, who caught 38 passes during the regular season and added a seven-catch, 117-yard showing against Dallas in the playoffs. Head coach Mike McCarthy is excited about Adams’ output at minicamp. “Davante Adams, if you want a clear illustration and example of a first-year player taking a jump in his second year, you just saw it here the last four weeks,” McCarthy told the Associated Press. “Davante, if you wanted me to pick an MVP or an all-star (of the offseason), he would definitely be atop the list.”
  • Browns defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil wants more from third-year linebacker Barkevious Mingowrites Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. “He is going to have to compete for playing time on early downs. He’s going to have a role in our sub-packages,” said O’Neil, who did acknowledge that Mingo is the team’s best outside linebacker in coverage. Mingo’s role last year mainly focused on coverage, not rushing the passer, as he played through a torn labrum. Mingo has racked up just seven sacks since going sixth overall in the 2014 draft.
  • Vikings safety Harrison Smith is under team control for just two more seasons, but he’s not thinking about a contract extension. “I’m really just focused on playing the best type of football I can. That stuff will work itself out,” Harrison said Thursday, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I’m happy to be here and happy to be a part of the Vikings, but all I’m thinking about right now is playing well in 2015.” Whether it’s with the Vikings or someone else, Smith is primed to cash in big if his career stays on its current course. Smith totaled a career-best five interceptions in 2014, giving him 10 in three seasons, and earned a spot on Pro Football Focus’ All-Pro team.
  • Two of Harrison’s fellow Vikings defenders, end Brian Robison and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, expect to be ready for training camp in July after suffering offseason injuries, per the Pioneer Press’ Brian Murphy.
  • Bengals wideout Marvin Jones impressed as an NFL sophomore in 2013, amassing 51 catches and 10 touchdowns, before missing all of last season with ankle and foot injuries. Healthy again, ESPN’s Coley Harvey writes that the 2012 second-round pick is returning to form. “You’re starting to see a play here, a play there of the old Marv, and the quickness, suddenness and explosiveness,” Bengals receivers coach James Urban said.
  • The performance of backup quarterback A.J. McCarron in spring workouts greatly impressed the Bengals and helped convince them to release Terrelle Pryor on Thursday, writes Geoff Hobson of the team’s website. “If he can do what he did here live, that will be the next step,” said quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese. Head coach Marvin Lewis expressed similar sentiment regarding the 2014 fifth-round pick and three-time national champion from the University of Alabama. “I’m pleased with his ability to handle the huddle, to handle the team. These nine practices have been awesome for him,” Lewis said.
  • Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco heaped praise on second-year receiver Jeremy Butler, who stood out at the team’s minicamp. “He was incredible. He caught the ball extremely well,” said Flacco, according to the Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson. “He’s just a big, strong body and catches the ball really well. It’s exactly what he showed last year in training camp, I thought, and he’s just coming out here and doing more of that.” Butler went undrafted out of Tennessee-Martin in 2014 and missed his entire rookie season because of a shoulder injury.

NFC Links: Peterson, Munnerlyn, Lacy

In some news in the NFC Saturday night …

  • One of the Cowboys‘ biggest fears in their debate on retaining NFL rushing champion DeMarco Murray is that it would cost them the chance at adding long-coveted Adrian Peterson, sources told Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The Cowboys’ rare offseason thrift may not preclude the notoriously splashy franchise from making a deal for native Texan Peterson. Despite Peterson’s $12.75MM salary, the 30-year-old running back could still be acquired via draft-weekend trade, per Hill.
  • The Vikings have not looked into free agents Michael Crabtree and Justin Blalock, notes Darren Wolfson of KSTP on Twitter.
  • After previously fearing his up-and-down play could result in his release one year into a three-year deal, Captain Munnerlyn is confident he can beat out the recently added Terence Newman for the starting job opposite Xavier Rhodes, reports Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. A four-year starter soon to be 27, Munnerlyn, who graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 37th-best corner (subscription required), probably has the inside track. Newman, PFF’s 56th-best corner in 2014, is 37 and signed a one-year, $2.5MM contract Friday — a lesser investment than the Vikings made in Munnerlyn (three-year, $11.25MM deal signed in ’14).
  • Mike McCarthy is attempting to keep Eddie Lacy fresh without taking him off the field on third downs, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports. Lacy’s snap totals spiked to more than 65% last season after hovering at an injury-reduced 60 as a rookie in 2013. Lacy’s touch total, however, declined from Year 1 to Year 2, however, and the Packers‘ powerful running back’s 246 carries didn’t reach the standard McCarthy planned before last season.
  • Washington represents another stop on Marcus Mariota‘s spring itinerary, and’s Tarik El-Bashir previews the summit (audio link). Sources have noted Washington either taking the Heisman winner at No. 5 or strongly considering it. The Jets were the latest team to publicly court the Oregon star.

Vikings Notes: AP, QB, Jennings, Munnerlyn

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman were among a contingent that flew to Houston today to meet with Adrian Peterson, as Tom Pelissero of USA Today details. Now that the running back has been moved back to the exempt list, open communication is once again permitted, and this will be the first face-to-face meeting between the two sides in months, according to Pelissero. While Peterson hasn’t asked to be traded or released, he is “uneasy” about the possibility of returning to Minnesota, so the goal of today’s meeting for the club is likely to ease some of those concerns.

As we wait to hear how the meeting in Houston goes, let’s round up a few more Vikings-related notes….

  • Sources tell Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports that while Peterson hasn’t ruled out the possibility of continuing to play for the Vikings, he has also considered trade destinations, and may be open to restructuring his contract to accommodate a deal. Robinson identifies the Cardinals, Colts, Cowboys, Chargers, and Buccaneers as Peterson’s preferred destinations if he leaves Minnesota.
  • The Vikings reached an agreement earlier today with the Bills on a trade that will send Matt Cassel to Buffalo, which means the club will be in the market for a backup quarterback this month. According to Ben Goessling of (via Twitter), the Vikings already have a specific backup in mind. Goessling suggests keeping an eye on Charlie Whitehurst, who was with Norv Turner in San Diego — Turner also has a connection to free-agent-to-be Brian Hoyer.
  • Spielman has said the Vikings aren’t likely to make a big splash in free agency, but as Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune observes (via Twitter), the Cassel deal is the latest move toward creating the cap room necessary to keep all free agent options open.
  • Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities tweets that the Vikings will likely restructure Greg Jennings‘ contract at some point this month. Conversely, Goessling hears that the team hasn’t approached cornerback Captain Munnerlyn about reworking his deal (Twitter link). Given the cap room created by the Cassel trade, restructuring Munnerlyn’s contract may not be necessary, says Goessling.

NFC Notes: Wilson, Gore, Vikes, Gholston

Former agent Joel Corry tells Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times that he can envision the Seahawks and Russell Wilson‘s camp coming to a creative compromise on a contract extension. A good halfway point for the two sides could be a deal that comes in at significantly less money than a top quarterback would receive, but with that money fully guaranteed. Corry throws out the idea of a possible five-year contract that would guarantee Wilson something like $75-$80MM.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Frank Gore doesn’t appear likely to re-sign with the 49ers this offseason, according to Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (video link), who identifies the Colts, the Dolphins, and Washington as probable suitors for the veteran running back. Based on the conversations Miller has had with executives around the league, he names Indianapolis as the most likely landing spot for Gore.
  • The Vikings will meet with agent Hadley Engelhard in Indianapolis this week, according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 Twin Cities (via Twitter). Engelhard represents current Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn as well as free agent wideout Mike Williams.
  • Former sixth overall pick Vernon Gholston hasn’t appeared in a regular season NFL game since 2010, but the ex-Jets edge defender announced today on Twitter that he has a tryout with Washington on tap.
  • Pass rushers will likely be atop the Falcons‘ list of priorities this winter, prompting Vaughn McClure of to explore just how much the team should be willing to invest in the position.
  • After tackling the AFC last week, former agent Joel Corry focuses on one pressing offseason issue for each of the 16 NFC teams in a piece for The topics addressed by Corry include Larry Fitzgerald‘s future in Arizona, Jerry Jones‘ willingness to keep spending on the Cowboys, and the moves the Saints will make to get under the cap.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFC Mailbags: Panthers, Bears, Washington

We took a look at’s AFC mailbags earlier this morning. Let’s check out some notes from the NFC…

  • Considering the lack of quality on the offensive line and the inconsistency from the running game, David Newton believes it’s safe to say that Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman didn’t have the best offseason. Newton also suggests that the team could have found a way to keep defensive backs Michael Mitchell and Captain Munnerlyn.
  • When asked about Cam Newton‘s desire to stay with the Panthers, Newton ensures that the quarterback wants to stick around.
  • Michael C. Wright surveys the quarterbacks in the 2015 draft, and suggests that the Bears could select one of the top prospects. However, the writer isn’t convinced the team will be in position to draft either Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston.
  • John Keim also looks forward to the draft for Washington, citing pass-rush, secondary, and linebacker as the team’s biggest needs. On offense, Keim believes the team should focus on the offensive line.

NFC North Notes: Munnerlyn, Finley, Tulloch

Vikings defensive backs Captain Munnerlyn and Robert Blanton were not fined for their hit on Saints quarterback Drew Brees last weekend. The play resulted in a 15-yard penalty and some shoving from both sides.

As’s Ben Goessling writes, Munnerlyn opined that he shouldn’t have been flagged for the play. Brees respectfully disagrees:

“He said that wasn’t a penalty. I said, ‘Of course it was, you suplexed me,'” Brees said. “‘But listen, I like you, I think you’re a good football player. I appreciate the 15 yards, thank you.'”

Let’s check out some more notes from the NFC North…

NFC North Notes: Munnerlyn, Lions, Packers

When Vikings newcomer Captain Munnerlyn signed with the team in March, he envisioned being the starting cornerback to start the regular season. Even after he was listed beside Josh Robinson as a “co-starters” on the team’s first depth chart, the 26-year-old is still convinced that the starting gig belongs to him.

“Basically, I didn’t know that I was going to come off the bench and just slide into the nickel,” he told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press“I don’t think that was the plan. I always thought I would start outside and slide in… I’ve played a lot of football in this league. I’ve started a lot of games.

“I really didn’t even know there was any competition.”

Let’s see what else is happening in the NFC North…

  • Lions rookie T.J. Jones will remain on the team’s PUP list when the season begins. While this wasn’t the best-case scenario for the wide receiver, Tim Twentyman of writes that it could ultimately help the player, who would have had a tough time making the final squad.
  • In the same article, Twentyman notes that Lions defensive end George Johnson has continued to move up the depth chart. “He played pretty well,” said head coach Jim Caldwell. “Lot of effort plays, he was active, he was tough and threw his body around, he did a nice job in the scrimmage plays and special teams, as well.”
  • Instead of keeping three quarterbacks, Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette thinks it’d be best for the Packers to keep only one of Matt Flynn or Scott Tolzien. With the extra spot, Dougherty suggests the team carry an extra linebacker, safety, tight end or receiver.