Described as "a mortal enemy of quarterbacks and ball carriers that dare to enter his territory" by the NFL Draft Report, former Stanford defender Trent Murphy has earned a reputation as a quarterback terrorist. But even his off-field activities appear similar to those of Jared Allen, one of the most successful pass-rushing defenders in Minnesota Vikings history.
Murphy enjoys steer wrestling and snowboarding, saying that those activities can improve athleticism, even if he realizes they might not be allowed as side hobbies of an NFL player under contract for millions of dollars.
"Steer wrestling shows athleticism at high speed," Murphy said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "I think snowboarding shows a lot of athleticism in a different avenue. Although teams don't want you to be snowboarding anymore, I think showing you're an athlete in a bunch of different areas is a good thing, especially for a tall, long guy."
In high school, Murphy also excelled at basketball and track.
He is 6-foot-5½, 250 pounds. Allen, who finished a six-season stretch with the Vikings, was listed at 6-foot-6 and 270 yards and came to Minnesota known for his rodeo background and extreme hunting exploits, like wild boar hunting.
Allen left the Vikings last month as a free agent and signed with the Chicago Bears, but Murphy, whom the Vikings have been looking into over the last month, could be used as either a defensive end or linebacker.
He said he has gotten interest from teams that run a 4-3 defensive scheme and those that run a 4-3, saying a lot of teams are looking at him as an outside linebacker, a position of need for the Vikings.
"Whether it's as a defensive end or standup outside linebacker, I just like to be on that edge of the defense, on that angle, and I like to get after the passer rushing," Murphy said.
He started 41 games for the Stanford Cardinal and surprised some when he decided to stay for his senior season. It was certainly a productive one. He had 15 sacks and 23½ tackles-for-loss on 62 total tackles.
He credits his dad Jerry for his toughness.
"My dad in particular is a very tough, hard-nosed guy. A lot of it comes from him," Trent Murphy said. "One of my coaches in high school kind of trained us with a Navy Seal mentality, tried to push us."
"… I just love pushing myself. I love the challenge. That's what's so great about football is you constantly push yourself in a lot of aspects of the game."
During his 44-game career, Murphy had 160 tackles, including 52½ for losses, 31½ sacks, 17 quarterback pressures and two forced fumbles. He also returned both of his interceptions for touchdowns.
He is one of just six players in Stanford history to record 50 tackles-for-loss and one of three with at least 32½ sacks.
Despite his ability to rush the passer as a linebacker, he also had a lot of success in pass coverage. Opponents completed only eight of the 81 passes thrown in his territory, and he added 11 passes defensed to his two interceptions.
The Vikings got a chance to see Murphy at the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine, but their interest in him continues, according to a source. After the success they had with Allen, who can blame them?
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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