Vikings Trade Proposal Exiles 8-Time Pro Bowler Ahead of 2022 Season

Patrick Peterson

Getty Patrick Peterson #7 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on during pregame warm-ups prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

After an offseason of questions surrounding what the new Minnesota Vikings regime under Kwesi Adofo-Mensah might do, the team has opted to run it back with primarily the same roster.

Minnesota kept the majority of its veteran talent and is betting on the players outperforming their 2021 season under first-year coach Kevin O’Connell.

However, the NFL offseason has continued to see more trades, and Bleacher Report recently proposed the Vikings cut weight on one of its veterans and allow its younger players to emerge.

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BR: Vikings Should Trade Patrick Peterson to the Cardinals

On June 17, Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton suggested a trade every team should make before training camp in late July.

Wharton proposed that the Vikings shouldn’t add talent, but should subtract from its roster by trading away eight-time Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson.

Peterson, who turns 32 in July, was hoping for a career renaissance since making his last Pro Bowl in 2018, joining the Vikings last season with the hope Mike Zimmer could work the same magic he did with veteran cornerback Terrence Newman.

The 2021 season didn’t go exactly as planned for Peterson. He did improve upon a 2020 campaign with the Arizona Cardinals where he led all cornerbacks in the league with 12 penalties, but he left plenty more to be desired on a struggling defense.

Another year under his belt, Wharton suggested playing an aging Peterson would cap valuable playing time for the Vikings’ future at cornerback, primarily in third-year corner Cameron Dantzler and second-round rookie Andrew Booth Jr.

While Wharton makes a valid point, Minnesota wouldn’t garner significant draft capital for a veteran corner like Peterson, appraising a trade to the Cardinals that would garner only a 2023 sixth-round pick.

The cap savings are minimal as well, just $2.38 million, but depending on the kind of cap space available, Peterson could reel in the last coins needed for a more valuable asset in the offseason.

“Peterson graded almost league-average in 2021, finishing 63rd of 129 qualified corners, according to Pro Football Focus,” Wharton wrote. “By adding Andrew Booth Jr. in the second round, the Vikings rendered Peterson expendable. Meanwhile, Cameron Dantzler is an up-and-coming young talent coming off his best season yet, and Peterson turns 32 in July. Playing Peterson in his declining years brings almost little value.”

Peterson could be over the hill, however, he is one of the team’s most prominent leaders in the locker room and a player-coach for his position group at a team-friendly $3.13 million cap hit this season.

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Peterson Played Above His PFF Grade Last Season

Peterson hasn’t been shy about critiquing Pro Football Focus (PFF) on his All Things Covered podcast in the past, saying the analytics giant assumes its coverage grades without knowing player assignments.

While Peterson posted a middling PFF defensive grade, by other metrics, he proved to be a quality cover man.

According to Pro Football Reference, Peterson allowed a 78.7 passer rating when targeted – on-par with Pro Bowl corners Stephon Gilmore (78.6) and Denzel Ward (76.6).

Before last season, Peterson was coming off two seasons where he allowed a passer rating of 98.2 and 99.2, respectively.

While PFF remains a valuable resource for fans and teams alike, Peterson pleaded that fans don’t treat the analytics giant’s grades as the end all be all.

A Case Study in Coverage Assignments

On the All Things Covered podcast following the Vikings’ Week 1 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Peterson took issue with PFF.

Here’s the exchange between Peterson and his cousin and former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden:

Bryant McFadden: You didn’t get a lot of action. I watched the game and it was almost like ‘is he even playing?’ You didn’t see a lot of action.

Patrick Peterson: Pro Football Focus thought I did! That’s why I don’t like that stuff. They said I gave up 3 catches for 30 yards. Last time I checked, I gave up 1 catch for 3 yards to a screen. The catch that I know they’re talking about, I was in Cover 2, so that’s not my assignment. With these gurus, you can clearly see it’s a two high safety that I’m going to the flat. So how is that my guy? That’s why I don’t understand the grades that they give out with certain assignments guys have.

BM: My thing is this: it’s hard to give a guy a grade when you don’t know exactly what he’s supposed to do, what his assignment is. Now you start assuming.

PP: Right! That’s what fans look at… they treat that like the Bible, like these guys who are putting out these numbers know exactly what’s going on when they don’t! Some of the things that they do put out, yeah, it may be accurate. But when it comes to certain coverages, certain blocking schemes, like, put out the right stuff. Because at the end of the day, so many people are looking at this saying ‘this is what a guy is,’ off of what Pro Football Focus is saying. Put out the right stuff and really do the due diligence before you go out and put out certain numbers or things that guys did, for other people to say ‘oh, this guy gave up [this]’ — like you said, I didn’t give up no action. You can clearly see me re-route this guy, dropping backwards.

PFF adjusted Peterson’s coverage stats, attributing two receptions on three targets for 13 yards.

Inside the Vikings’ Will Ragatz took a deep dive into Peterson’s film and sided with Peterson.

When considering what Peterson’s actual coverage assignments were, he allowed one catch on three targets for just six yards and a 42.4 passer rating.

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