Patrick Peterson has one game circled on the Minnesota Vikings‘ 2021 schedule.
“The division games are always gonna be a dogfight,” he said on his All Things Covered podcast last week. “But the one I circled is definitely Week 2. That’s not even close.”
The game Peterson has circled is his homecoming to the University of Phoenix Stadium, where the Vikings take on the Arizona Cardinals, his former team of 10 years before signing with Minnesota this offseason.
Peterson was blunt in acknowledging the added motivation come Week 2.
“I’m gonna be juiced up going into that week, but once that game gets going, I’m going to be cool, calm and collected,” he said. “That’s when I’m at my best. I’m looking forward to that Week 2 matchup. I can’t wait to show up and do what I do in their face.”
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Peterson Taking Changes In Stride
Leaving Arizona has been shellshock for the 30-year-old cornerback who spent the past decade with the Cardinals, earning eight Pro Bowl mentions in that span.
However, Peterson is immersing himself within the Vikings organization to ease his transition to the North Star State, taking part in OTAs this past week.
“This right now is a precious time into the season where you gain confidence in one another,” Peterson said. “I’d rather have three months to get ready versus a full month to get ready.”
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Vikings’ Culture Akin With Peterson
While many players across the NFL have opted not to participate in in-person OTAs over the past couple of weeks.
The Vikings, however, have had a strong turnout, which has left an impression on Peterson.
“It was a good number of guys here to give you a sense of urgency that the team is focused,” Peterson said. “The team has their right mind-frame that’s coming here getting better.”
Peterson admitted that learning a new scheme and verbiage of the Vikings defense would have been more difficult had he stayed away from TCO Performance Center in Eagan.
“With me, being it’s my first new team, I want to be here and hear the terminology — I don’t just want to see it on Zoom — I want to go out on the grass and do the work,” Peterson said. “That’s what the game is all about. To me, that’s the most important part of the game is the offseason. Being with the guys seeing how they move, you understand and get a feel for how important the game is to that person.”
Peterson is working with a new crop of cornerbacks, including projected starters Cameron Dantzler and Mackensie Alexander, who will have to develop chemistry quickly if they hope to help improve the Vikings’ 27th ranked defense from a season ago.
Minnesota introduces eight new starters from the post-bye week unit that struggled in 2020. Peterson, the eldest member of the cornerbacks core, will be leaned on for his leadership will early and often.