Who will run opposite of Danielle Hunter at right defensive end?
Minnesota has an array of potential starting candidates and storylines that could take place, but no headliner that’s guaranteed to recapture the havoc Hunter and Everson Griffen wreaked together for three seasons.
Newly signed Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson may know a guy to fit that bill.
Speaking candidly on the All Things Covered podcast, Peterson entertained the idea of reuniting with longtime Arizona Cardinals teammate and two-time All-Pro edge rusher Chandler Jones. Jones recently requested a trade from Arizona, sparking rumors across the NFL landscape that did not miss Minnesota — thanks to Peterson’s ties to Jones.
“I hope we trade for him, ’cause I need my guy,” Peterson said. “He go get the quarterback, and I shut down the receiver.”
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Leaving the Nest
There’s a trend here.
Peterson, recently turned 31 years old, turned a new leaf in his career by leaving the Cardinals after being long-regarded as one of the league’s top cornerbacks of the past decade.
Jones, who also turned 31 this year, is coming off surgery on his right biceps, and hopes to prove he’s every bit of his old self.
Jones’ request for a trade has been fueled by unhappiness with his contract as he enters the final year of his current deal, per ESPN. Peterson made it clear that Jones is likely looking for an extension that offers security in the moonlight of his career.
“I’ve seen it time after time again. I said, ‘Chandler, if you play your last year out, if you don’t get a new deal — the deal that you want going into the season — start looking for a new team,” Peterson said.
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Could Jones Land With the Vikings?
On paper, Jones and Danielle Hunter would be one of the most formidable pass-rusher duos in the league. Jones led the league with 49 sacks from 2017-19, while Hunter was third, tallying 36 sacks in that span.
However, Jones is aging out of the league, and Minnesota would need help taking on his $15.5 million base salary for this season. The Vikings may be tentative to make another trade for a pass-rusher after ditching Yannick Ngakoue, who was acquired in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars last offseason, six weeks into the 2020 season.
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora appraised Jones’ performance over the past few years and called him vastly underpaid.
“Other teams will gladly take on that deal via trade and pay Jones far closer to what he is worth,” Canfora wrote.
Considering the cost to acquire Jones, coming off an injury, the Vikings are likely not the top candidate to chase the All-Pro pass-rusher in a trade this offseason.