It’ll take some time getting used to the fact cornerback Patrick Peterson isn’t with the Arizona Cardinals anymore.
Peterson was drafted fifth overall by Arizona in 2011 out of LSU and put up stellar numbers and got himself into the Pro Bowl eight times. But his departure was not so stellar. In July, Peterson ripped general manager Steve Keim for not answering his texts when he dove into the free agency market. Peterson didn’t take a liking to that.
“We’re all grown men here, we’re not in high school,” Peterson said. “For him to do that, yo, I lost all respect for him, man… That was the ultimate disrespect right there.”
Peterson signed with the Minnesota Vikings to a one-year deal. Peterson specifically went out of his way to point out the Cardinals’ missteps. When Chandler Jones requested a trade in July, the All-Pro took it to his podcast “All Things Covered“, hosted by former Cardinal Bryant McFadden.
“Tell me this, this league is always about productivity, right?” Peterson said during the podcast. “Who builds football teams? Who is in charge of building the football team? What did (Steve Keim) do lately? I’m talking about the record. It’s all about what you have done lately.”
Peterson even took a bigger stance on his matchup to his old stomping ground in Week 2 in the offseason.
“The division games are going to be always a dogfight, you know what I mean,” Peterson said. “But the one I circled is definitely Week 2. That’s not even close.”
So what is Peterson’s mindset heading into Week two? A little different. He’s not putting any bulletin-board material out there.
“At this moment and at this time, it’s a regular game,” he said on his podcast released on September 14.
Peterson has a bit of a different thought process than a couple of months ago. But no one can blame him. Let the play do the talking on Sunday.
While Cardinals fans could easily have a beef with Peterson, there’s no doubt how important he was to their franchise. He immediately had an impact in his rookie year accumulating four punt returns for touchdowns, which tied the NFL record. Who can forget his 99-yard return in 2011?
Peterson made the Pro Bowl as a punt returner in his rookie year and then as a cornerback in his second season. His second season in 2012 had everyone on watch when Peterson had a career-best seven interceptions and five fumble recoveries. That proceeded teams to stop throwing his way, keeping his interception totals at a minimum. But he still made the Pro Bowl six more times and never missed a game with an injury.
But he did miss six games in the 2019 season due to a violation of the performance-enhancing drugs policy. And the year prior, he requested a trade after a 1-6 start and “desperately wanted out”. Changes in the coaching staff and a change from man-to-man coverage that Peterson preferred led to his disagreements with the team.
After years of being a part of the Cardinals family, Peterson doesn’t know what to expect from the crowd.
“I have no idea, Mac. I really, really don’t,” Peterson said. “Like it’s going to be all new to me. So I really don’t know what to expect. For the most part, I’m treating this like a regular game. I don’t want to get too high, don’t want to get too low.”
Kyler Murray was Peterson’s teammate for his first two seasons in the league and embraced the veteran.
“Probably be weird, but I love Pat,” said Murray. “He’s one of the best to ever do it so I’m excited. My first two years with him, he was like a big brother. He was one of the guys I was around his hip, asking him questions, seeing how he did things, because he’s been great pretty much his whole career.”
How Peterson Matches Up
Peterson allowed two catches for 13 yards and was targeted three times in his Vikings debut against the Bengals, according to Pro Football Focus. But he’s now put to the task against one of the best receivers in DeAndre Hopkins. According to DraftKings, his over/under on receiving yards is 86.5, the third-most in for Week 2.
While it probably had to do with the money as well, the Cardinals didn’t bring him back largely due to his tackling issues. Peterson also had certain moments of getting beat.
While Peterson had a more than decent game against the Bengals, there was one play where rookie Ja’Marr Chase made Peterson look ridiculous.
Patrick Peterson’s return will be an interesting storyline to watch if you’re a Cardinals fan.