As a rookie in 2019, Kyler Murray was coming off a college career in which he spent just one season as a starting quarterback. The Arizona Cardinals' No. 1 overall pick was also adjusting to a brand-new coach in Kliff Kingsbury, but he still won Offensive Rookie of the Year.
As a sophomore in 2020, Murray had practically no time to establish chemistry with new No. 1 weapon DeAndre Hopkins because of what the COVID-19 pandemic did to that offseason and preseason. But he still improved statistically while producing a combined 37 passing and rushing touchdowns in his first Pro Bowl campaign.
Now, Murray and Kingsbury are coming off their first full, proper offseason together. And early in the 24-year-old's critical third NFL campaign, it appears he's turning into an elite player with MVP potential for a team that is ready to contend in the tough NFC West.
Murray and the Cardinals' high-powered offense put on a show for the second week in a row as Arizona defeated the Minnesota Vikings 34-33 Sunday at home. He completed all but seven of 36 passes for exactly 400 yards and three touchdowns. He did throw two interceptions, but he rushed for 31 yards and another score as the Cards put up 30-plus points yet again to move to 2-0.
He's completed 73.5 percent of his passes, posted a 121.5 passer rating and is on pace to generate 77 total touchdowns this season.
According to ESPN.com's Tristan H. Cockcroft, Murray's just the third quarterback in modern NFL history to compile 30-plus fantasy points in each of his team's first two games.
But there's also the magic that can't be fully represented in the box score. His speed and evasiveness in the pocket on a 77-yard second-quarter touchdown pass to rookie Rondale Moore on Sunday was astonishing, and his back-footed deep shot to Christian Kirk in a crucial moment later in the same tight game was just as special. His first-quarter touchdown pass to Hopkins on 3rd-and-long also involved heroics after the pocket had broken down, as he spun away from defenders and somehow regained his vision to find his target in the end zone.