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Munnerlyn: NFL realizing importance of nickel backs

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Captain Munnerlyn is advocating for nickel cornerbacks everywhere.

"They are finally realizing that it's a big position," he said, via ESPN.com. "You're playing nickel 80 percent of the time of the game. If teams gameplan you, they might not do that; they might try to keep a linebacker out there, but this is a passing league. Everybody wants to throw the ball. Everybody wants to see the scoreboard light up so hopefully teams see that. Definitely hoping the Vikings see that because we play it a lot, I hope they value my position and value my talent and bring me back."

Munnerlyn is right, although his words likely will elicit an eye roll or two specifically because he's about to become a free agent and people will believe he's just trying to pad his own wallet. Interestingly enough, the pay scale of nickel corners seems to have been slow to catch up to the modern NFL game, unless you count the hybrid players like Malcolm Jenkins and Tyrann Mathieu. Their importance has steadily increased, but unlike other positions that have seen a steady raise over the last few years -- guards and interior defensive tackles come to mind -- it's hard to think of a true nickel making significant money. The situation obviously gets complicated because it's hard to pigeonhole defensive backs to one position in the secondary.

But Munnerlyn doesn't have much to worry about. With a rising salary cap and the need for solid cornerbacks at an all-time high, he's essentially a home owner in a seller's market. Munnerlyn, 28, has never appeared in fewer than 14 games in a season and has had eight picks and 32 breakups over the last five years.

While he might want to stay in Minnesota, there will be offers elsewhere.

"I definitely get anxious, because I want to know what's my next move," he said. "I definitely would love to stay here but at the same time, I know it's a business. I know things can get a little tricky. Money does play a little issue, but at the same time, you want to be happy. If I'm back here, I'm definitely pulling for that. Hopefully, they bring me back."

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