Vikings introduce Byron Murphy Jr. and Josh Oliver
The Vikings introduced new cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. and new tight end Josh Oliver at TCO Performance Center Thursday afternoon. New defensive lineman Marcus Davenport was originally supposed to be in attendance, but his contract isn’t official yet.
***Click the video box above to watch Murphy Jr. and Oliver meet with reporters***
Murphy signed a 2-year contract, Oliver received 3-years, although it’d be easy for the Vikings to escape if need be after the second year.
The 25-year-old Murphy replaced Patrick Peterson in the Cardinals’ starting lineup in 2021 when Peterson joined the Vikings. Now, the 2019 second-round draft pick will take over for Peterson again. Murphy was limited to nine games in 2022, when he was hampered by a back injury. He had a career-high four interceptions in 2021.
As the Vikings transition their scheme under new defensive coordinator Brian Flores away from the zone-heavy strategy they used last year, Murphy ought to fit well with man-to-man coverage skills. Peterson departed for Pittsburgh.
Oliver was the highest-ranked tight end in run blocking in 2022 by Pro Football Focus. The Vikings ranked 26th in the NFL last season with an average of 4.1 yards per rush and tied for 27th in total rushing yards.
Oliver was a third-round draft pick by Jacksonville out of San Jose State in 2019, but he played in only four games in two seasons for the Jaguars. He suffered a severe hamstring injury in his first training camp and, after a brief return, saw his rookie season end with a back injury.
The following year, he broke a bone in his foot in camp and was again placed on season-ending injured reserve. The Jaguars traded him the next spring to the Ravens, for whom he had a limited role in 14 games in 2021.
Oliver flourished as a run blocker last season, playing in all 17 games and 47% of the snaps on offense. He had 14 receptions for 149 yards and two touchdowns.
The Associated Press contributed to this report