Vikings told Munnerlyn from get-go he would be starting CB
By Chris Tomasson
St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — If there was a battle to be the Vikings’ starting left cornerback, it was news to Captain Munnerlyn.
“I really didn’t even know there was any competition,” Munnerlyn said.
Well, the first depth chart that came out two weeks ago indicated there was. It had Munnerlyn and Josh Robinson listed as co-No. 1 at the position.
But there’s little doubt now the 5-foot-9 Munnerlyn will be the starter in the regular-season opener Sept. 7 at St. Louis. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said it “looks like it.”
Robinson being listed even with Munnerlyn was more of a product of Munnerlyn missing the first week of training camp with a strained hamstring. But now Robinson has sat out the past two weeks with a hamstring strain of his own, and Zimmer is losing patience with him.
“Who knows?” Zimmer said sarcastically before Monday’s practice about whether Robinson would go, and he didn’t.
Regardless, Munnerlyn wasn’t expecting much competition when he signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Vikings in March as a free agent.
The six-year veteran said team officials told him the plan was he would be the starter and then slide inside for nickel coverage.
“Basically, I didn’t know that I was going to come off the bench and just slide into the nickel,” he said. “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.”
Munnerlyn, who has started 50 of 77 career games, all with the Carolina Panthers, does acknowledge that beginning training camp on the physically unable to perform list might have complicated matters a bit.
And Robinson is the incumbent at left cornerback even though that was under previous coach Leslie Frazier. He started all 10 games he played last year, his second in the NFL, before being lost for the season with a fractured sternum.
For now, Munnerlyn is glad Zimmer is expecting he will start in the opener.
“Oh, yeah, I definitely feel good about it,” Munnerlyn said.
As the turns out, there really wasn’t much competition for the job. While Munnerlyn has started both preseason games, Robinson hasn’t gotten into one yet and his status remains uncertain for Saturday’s game at Kansas City.
The Pioneer Press is a media partner with the Forum News Service