Captain Munnerlyn did not have a good season for the Vikings.
The cornerback struggled in his first year with the team while serving as an outside cornerback and nickel back. Munnerlyn went into the offseason attempting to get back in shape and was on hand during the second week of the Vikings’ voluntary workout program on Monday.
Listed at 5-9 and 195 pounds, Munnerlyn wants to prove he’s capable of playing both outside cornerback and the nickel back. Among Munnerlyn’s doubters are Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, who said at the Senior Bowl in January that Munnerlyn was a nickel back and played out of position last year.
“I just don’t see myself as a nickel back,” Munnerlyn said. “That’s just me. I see myself as an every-down corner. I want to be on the field every single down. But if the process works out and I’m just a nickel, I’m going to be the best nickel I can be.”
Munnerlyn started his workout program right before the Super Bowl, and he felt he’s regained his speed while dropping 10 pounds. Munnerlyn said he wasn’t in the best shape last year after getting a three-year deal worth more than $11 million. It was the biggest contract the seventh-round pick out of South Carolina in 2009 signed in his career.
“I’ve joked with the guys about last year saying, ‘I got a little new money last year and kind of got new to me,’ ” Munnerlyn said. “… It was a little different. I wasn’t used to that. But now I’m back to the drawing board, back to my roots.”
Getting on in years
Linebacker Chad Greenway returns to the Vikings after renegotiating his contract in the offseason to play his 10th season with the franchise. But the 32-year-old can’t prepare for the season the way he used to during his younger days.
“The longer you play, the longer it takes you to recover,” Greenway said. “So you take that time to get your body to get back to as good as it’s going to be, I guess. You just have to take it at your own pace. But we’re working pretty hard here.”
Greenway has made a few adjustments to his training along the way. He said he doesn’t run as much these days to preserve his knees. Rather, Greenway rides a bike for his cardio activity so he doesn’t pound his body as much this early in the year.
“That’s just part of the deal,” Greenway said. “It’s hard on you so eventually you’re going to break down.”
Ready for more
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is in his second week of his first NFL offseason conditioning program with the Vikings. He spent part of the offseason working out with teammates in California before traveling to the Twin Cities to train with the Vikings strength and conditioning staff.
Bridgewater will look to get stronger this offseason, but he wants to continue improving in every facet at quarterback.
“I left a lot of plays on the field last year, but I’m always trying to get better,” Bridgewater said. “I appreciate people saying that I had a good rookie season. But I know that if I play at that same level, we’ll be 7-9 again and that’s not good enough.’’
Wide receiver Mike Wallace has taken the offseason workout program to not only improve on his game but get acquainted with his new teammates. The Vikings acquired the deep threat receiver from the Dolphins last month, and he’s getting his first opportunity to interact with his new teammates.
“Everybody seems like they’re on the same page as far as being together and having fun. That’s a big thing for me, just having fun when I’m playing football. If it’s not fun, it’s going to be tough.”
Some Vikings players have remained in touch with Adrian Peterson, who missed most of last season after legal troubles and an NFL suspension.
Bridgewater was invited to Peterson’s birthday party in Texas, while Greenway and Munnerlyn have talked to Peterson over the phone.
“We had a good conversation,” Greenway said. “When you play with a guy going on nine years, you have a great relationship, and I do with him. He said his piece and I just heard him out. Obviously, he brings a lot to our team and we’d love to have him back this offseason and start working with him.”