Although contractually bound to the Minnesota Vikings for at least four more games, veteran star cornerback Patrick Peterson appears to have moved on to 2022 — his pending free agency, his next football home.
It’s rare for an employed NFL player to publicly declare his interest in joining a conference foe, yet that’s exactly what Peterson did following Minnesota’s Week 14 loss. That foe is the Dallas Cowboys and that interest is rooted in the 31-year-old’s childhood ambitions.
The secret’s out.
“Growing up, I always saw myself being an NFL football player. My dreams were to be a Cowboy, but at the end of the day, that didn’t happen — still got time on the table because I still got some tread still left on the tires,” Peterson said during a December 10 press conference, via Heavy’s Trevor Squire. “But I love the game, no matter who I’m playing for, and I’m going to bring that same intensity no matter the organization.”
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P² Suffering Through Letdown in Minny
An eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro — a generational talent during his first 10 seasons in Arizona — Peterson inked a one-year, fully-guaranteed, $8 million prove-it deal with the Vikings last March. The return on investment hasn’t been great from the team’s perspective.
Maligned by a hamstring injury, Peterson has recorded zero interceptions and just two pass deflections across nine starts. He’s currently rated as Pro Football Focus‘ No. 68 CB among 118 qualifiers with a below-average 58.4 coverage grade. Minnesota’s secondary is surrendering 251.9 passing yards per game, the league’s 10th-worst mark.
“We’re going to continue to build off things. We have four games left. We feel like we can play with the best of them. Just a couple mistakes that cost us those games,” Peterson said on December 10. “Four games left in the season. It’s not too late to learn from those mistakes.”
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Dallas Reportedly Tried Luring Peterson in Offseason
Peterson’s dream of donning the star came oh-so-close to being realized. The Athletic’s Dan Pompei reported in August that Dallas “made [a push]” to land the former fifth overall pick, who instead opted to take his talents to the Twin Cities, uniting with defensive-minded Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer.
“Once the team Peterson wanted to play for most was no longer an option, he began contemplating the possibilities. The Cowboys and 49ers made pushes, he says. There were conversations with the Eagles,” Pompei wrote.
“Zimmer didn’t think the Vikings had a chance to sign Peterson. Then Peterson asked his agent to call Zimmer. Once Zimmer and Peterson talked, they knew they were a match.”
The Cowboys turned out fine despite Peterson’s rebuffing thanks to a breakout season from sophomore CB Trevon Diggs, the NFL’s interceptions leader (9). The collective is also tied for the league lead in team INTs (19) and ranks fifth in total takeaways (23), thriving under defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.
“Every day in practice, we talk about finding ways to get the ball back to our offense and who’s going to be the guy,” Cowboys rookie linebacker Micah Parsons said in October, via SportsCasting.com.