Trade Proposal Lands Vikings Breakout incredible Starting CB

Trade Proposal Lands Vikings Breakout incredible Starting C

The Minnesota Vikings defense has been a revelation this season, and the franchise can use the trade deadline to shore its secondary as the team attempts to make a playoff run following a 1-4 start.

That logic is the basis for an argument from Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report who suggested on Friday, October 27, that the Vikings add to their defensive backfield by trading for Tennessee Titans cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting.

If the Minnesota Vikings are more interested in making a playoff push over the second half of the season than selling off veterans, acquiring a quality defensive back should be high on their priority list. Their defense has shown improvement under new coordinator Brian Flores, but it still ranks 20th in net yards per pass attempt allowed.

Murphy-Bunting would be a terrific target for the Vikings. … Murphy-Bunting is also playing on a one-year deal, meaning Tennessee may be willing to part ways with him if it’s ready to punt on the remainder of the season.

Murphy-Bunting is in a breakout season of sorts in a couple of ways.

First, he’s transitioned into a full-time starter at the position for the first time in his five-year career. The 26-year-old CB has started all six games in which he’s appeared in 2023 and played 96% of the Titans’ defensive snaps after surpassing 74% of his team’s defensive snaps in just one prior campaign.

Murphy-Bunting is also playing relatively well considering the volume of pass attempts opposing quarterbacks have sent his way. He is on pace for career-highs in tackles (29 so far), pass breakups (4 so far) and has already set a career-high with 2 forced fumbles, per Pro Football Reference. Murphy-Bunting also has an interception this season, the seventh of his career.

The cornerback spent his first four years in the league with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has appeared in 59 regular-season games since the Bucs selected him in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, starting 42 of those contests.

 

Murphy-Bunting’s contract is also a fit in Minnesota, where cash is still a little slim as the team continues a years-long transition into a new era.

The cornerback is playing on a one-year, $3.5 million contract and will hit free agency in March 2024. The Vikings have about $8 million in available salary cap space in 2023 and currently have north of $38 million to spend next year.

Minnesota can utilize Murphy-Bunting — or another, higher-profile cornerback like C.J. Henderson of the Carolina Panthers — as a one-year rental. If Flores likes what he sees, the team can attempt to re-sign that player long-term after it sorts out a contract extension with All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

The Vikings could also decide to sell ahead of the NFL’s October 31 trade deadline, which might mean parting ways with the likes of edge-rusher Danielle Hunter. However, Minnesota’s upcoming schedule and its three wins over the past four weeks to bring the team’s record to 3-4 have combined to put the Vikings back in the playoff hunt.

ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) now projects Minnesota will win between 8.2-8.7 games this season and gives the Vikings a 55.4% chance to make the playoffs heading into Week 8.

All those numbers will change if Minnesota can’t go into Lambeau Field and defeat the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, but the team’s current analytics justify making a deal or two ahead of the trade deadline to play for the postseason. If the Vikings decide to do so, moves to help in the secondary or along the defensive front make the most sense.

Max Dible covers the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns and Golden State Warriors for Heavy.com. He covered local and statewide news as a reporter for West Hawaii Today and served as news director for BigIslandNow.com and Pacific Media Group’s family of Big Island radio stations before joining Heavy.

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