Munnerlyn has a comparable contract he is using as his target line for money.
“I look at Buster Skrine from New York. Me and my agent, we had a conversation about it. I was like, ‘He’s a small guy. He’s a nickel. He got paid pretty good in New York,’” Munnerlyn said. “The money is going up each and every year, so I feel like I’m a guy that can contribute in the locker room on and off the field. I’m an older guy. I’m a veteran and I’ve still got a lot of football left in me.”
The salary cap has gone up by at least $10 million each of the last four years and the Vikings have nearly $40 million in cap space, but they have bigger priorities on the offensive side of the ball as well as future contract extensions to consider.
Munnerlyn isn’t looking for a one- or two-year contract, but the Vikings might not be the team to give him a longer deal with Mackensie Alexander developing in the wings.
Skrine signed a four-year, $25 million contract with the New York Jets two years ago, including a $5 million signing bonus with $13 million guaranteed. His cap hit in 2017 is $8.5 million.
When Munnerlyn joined the Vikings three years ago in his first foray in free agency, he signed a three-year, $11.25 million contract with only a $1 million signing bonus and $4.45 million guaranteed.
He’s looking for far more from his last contract to sign while he is still in his 20s.
“Where can you get an eight-year veteran at 28 years old coming in that’s been through everything that can help your football team?” he said. “Eight-year veterans are normally going to be 31, 32. I’m 28 years old, still in my prime. I’ve still got a lot of football left in me. You’ve got to look at that factor. At the same time, I can’t base it just off his contract. I just want to be compensated for my play. I do feel like I’m a No. 1 guy at my position and I want to be paid like it.”
Skrine played in more than 800 snaps in 2016, but Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of only 53.3, ranking 88th among the position. Munnerlyn played in almost 200 fewer snaps but earned a top-50 cornerback grade of 75.5.
“I’m a guy that’s a firm believer that I’ve put in work. The first year I probably didn’t play as well as I wanted to play outside and inside, but I felt like I locked in, I focused and played much better in my second year,” he said. “Last year, injuries kind of slowed me down a little bit.”
He suffered a high ankle sprain in November that was supposed to keep him out for at least a month, maybe two. He was back after missing only one game and playing through the pain.
“I don’t think people realize how tough a guy I am with the same situation with Harrison [Smith]. He wasn’t supposed to play, but we were trying to put our football team in the best position to win football games and I felt like me being there was the best thing for the football team,” Munnerlyn said. “Statistically, I didn’t have the year that I wanted. I didn’t record an interception. I haven’t done that in a long time. I still held my own, I still played well. You didn’t hear my name called a lot and that’s a good thing at defensive back. At the same time, I held my own, I made plays. I want to say I accounted for just one touchdown in 15 games. That’s pretty good.”