Souhan: From out of a shoe box, Vikings' Munnerlyn has made it

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 26, 2014 - 11:19 PM

The Vikings cornerback has proved doubters wrong time and again.

hide

Listed at 5-8, Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn has shown he can handle taller receivers.

Photo: Jerry Holt • jgholt@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– Captain Munnerlyn hates being categorized, but he used to fit neatly into a box.

“A shoe box,” he said.

Munnerlyn, the new Vikings cornerback, was born three months early. “My momma was like, ‘I’ve got to get this last kid out of me,’ so I was a preemie,’ ” he said.

He weighed a little more than 3 pounds. His mother used a shoe box as his crib.

That was convenient, because his family was hardly wealthy.

His father was murdered when he was 6. One of his brothers was convicted of murder and remains in prison. He grew up in the ironically named Happy Hill area of Mobile, Ala.

“It was tough,” Munnerlyn said Saturday while resting a strained hamstring during the second day of Vikings training camp. “I have always been told that I would never be nothing, never amount to nothing, never make it out. I was too small to play some sports. I wasn’t fast enough.

“Growing up in the projects made me the person I am today.”

A year or two after his father’s death, Captain’s mother, attending a funeral, heard the pastor ask if anyone wanted to “give their life to God.” His mother approached, and, Munnerlyn said, “it changed her life, and all of our lives.”

His mother began insisting that Captain attend Wednesday night Bible study, Sunday school and worship service.

“I was rebellious at first,” he said. “But I loved sports, and she said, ‘I’m not going to let you play football if you’re not going to listen to me.’ And I loved the game of football.”

One brother became a preacher. The other has a parole hearing in 10 months.

“A guy robbed him, and he went back three or four weeks later and shot and killed him,” Munnerlyn said. “Premeditated murder. I think he’s learned his lesson. I know I learned from it.

“He went in when he was 20. Now he’s 38.”

Family strife aside, Munnerlyn had to prove that a 5-8 defensive back could match up with tall receivers. He signed with South Carolina, and wound up rooming with current Vikings linebacker Jasper Brinkley. At one of his first practices, he noticed that few cornerbacks wanted to match up with future Vikings star Sidney Rice, a tall receiver with great leaping ability.

“Sidney was the man,” Munnerlyn said. “Nobody wanted to cover him. Me, a little freshman, said, ‘Why is everybody scared?’ With the heart I have, I challenged him, and made a couple of plays on him. I think I shocked a lot of people. I think I shocked Jasper. He came up to me and said, ‘You’re a little dawg, ain’t you?’ ”

The Vikings took Rice in the second round in 2007. The Vikings selected Brinkley in the fifth round in 2009. Two rounds later, the Carolina Panthers drafted Munnerlyn.

Rice recently retired. Brinkley is fighting for a job in Vikings camp. In March, the Vikings signed Munnerlyn to a three-year, $14.25 million contract.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 3 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Miami 7 FINAL
Washington 11
Detroit 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Minnesota 6 FINAL
Baltimore 5
NY Yankees 7 FINAL
Houston 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 2
Cincinnati 8 FINAL
LA Angels 6
Chicago Cubs 7 FINAL
Kansas City 0
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
San Francisco 11
Chicago WSox 4 FINAL
Cleveland 1
Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Oakland 7
Seattle 5 FINAL
San Diego 8
Texas 5 FINAL
Los Angeles 10
Colorado 11 FINAL
Arizona 10
Arizona 1 FINAL
Colorado 2
Houston 99 FINAL
Washington 91
LA Lakers 99 FINAL
Brooklyn 107
Minnesota 88 FINAL
New Orleans 110
Philadelphia 86 FINAL
Cleveland 87
Detroit 102 FINAL
Miami 109
LA Clippers 119 FINAL
Boston 106
Dallas 99 FINAL
Indiana 104
Memphis 89 FINAL
San Antonio 103
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Phoenix 97
Washington 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 2
Calgary 5 FINAL
Nashville 2
Boston 2 FINAL(OT)
Carolina 1
Detroit 4 FINAL
NY Islanders 5
Florida 4 FINAL
Ottawa 2
Anaheim 2 FINAL
New Jersey 1
Chicago 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
San Jose 2 FINAL(SO)
Pittsburgh 3
Michigan State 76 FINAL
Louisville 70
Gonzaga 52 FINAL
Duke 66
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Toronto FC 1 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
(7) Florida State 74 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 80
Villanova 70 FINAL
West Virginia 75
Michigan 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 60
Temple 69 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 57
Siena 50 FINAL
Louisiana 52
St Marys-CA 66 FINAL
UCLA 82
(5) Baylor 68 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 77

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Major League Soccer be successful in Minnesota?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close