Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson has been playing the field despite the Vikings’ season-ending last month.
A pending free agent, Peterson expressed his desire to return to Minnesota on his podcast on January 20.
However, a week later, his cousin and co-host of the All Things Covered podcast, Bryant McFadden, put out a feeler on-air with an Atlanta Falcons radio show, expressing Peterson’s interest in playing for the Falcons.
The Falcons have the second-most available space and are expected to invest heavily in their defense. Peterson’s interest also comes with the caveat that Atlanta, which has rumored interest in Lamar Jackson, secures the 2019 MVP quarterback.
“I would like to take the opportunity to say this right while I’m on air,” McFadden precursed before his statement on 92.9 The Game. “Pat is a free agent. He currently lives in Atlanta as well. And one thing he mentioned to me, he’s like ‘Mac, you heard about this whole Lamar Jackson situation to Atlanta.’ … Well he said, ‘You know what, I wouldn’t mind playing for the Falcons if they can pull that off.”
Patrick Peterson Says ‘He Would Love to Return to Vikings
On a January 20 episode of the All Things Covered podcast, Peterson said he would love to return to Minnesota for a third season after joining the Vikings back in the 2021 offseason.
“No doubt about it. I would love to be in that purple and gold again and give it a run again,” he said. “It’s just amazing, man. I truly believe, it felt like home to me. It felt like it was a place that I belong.”
An eight-time Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer, Peterson has maintained he’d like to play for at least four more years and win a ring — a prospect he sees in Minnesota after head coach Kevin O’Connell and general Kwesi Adofo-Mensah won 13 games in their first season with the Vikings.
“I feel like the future is very bright,” Peterson said. “Those guys were able to build and establish their brand right out of the gate. Now they set the standard for themselves.”
Peterson has signed one-year deals every offseason in Minnesota, making his pending free agency not as ominous on the surface.
However, Peterson’s 2022 performance showed he is still a quality corner at this stage in his career. Peterson played the third-most coverage snaps of any cornerback this season and allowed a 66.8 passer rating when targeted. Over The Cap valued his 2022 performance to garner a $19.2 million contract, however, Minnesota’s scheme played to Peterson’s strengths in zone coverage versus plastering him to a team’s top wideout.
Peterson’s well past his prime years to earn a deal of that magnitude, however, his performance and leadership warrant more than a veteran minimum. Spotrac projected his market value to be $6.4 million, a more realistic number for the Vikings to offer the soon-to-be 33-year-old cornerback.
Cowboys Have Patrick Peterson on Their Radar
The Dallas Cowboys and Peterson have had an ongoing flirtation since the 2021 offseason. Peterson, approaching free agency after a decade with the Arizona Cardinals, was on the Cowboys’ exploratory list that offseason.
The Athletic’s Dan Pompei reported in August 2021 that Dallas “pushed” to sign Peterson but ultimately fell short.
That December, Peterson openly expressed that playing for the Cowboys was his childhood dream and still saw a chance at realizing it.
“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.
Once again, Peterson’s name has surfaced in Dallas media approaching free agency as a potential free-agent target.
“If Peterson still has the pining to play in Dallas, a prospective pairing should at least be worth pursuing heading into 2023,” Sports Illustrated’s Mike D’Abate wrote. “It may be said that he is as viable of an option for an NFL defensive backfield as he was when he signed with the Vikings in March 2021 after 10 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.”
Peterson speaking openly about his desire to play for other organizations isn’t a new development. It’s one of the few cards players have at their disposal to leverage in negotiations. Peterson has been open about a handful of teams interested in him last offseason and even named his ideal landing spots outside of Minnesota.
Time will tell whether Peterson will sign on for another year in purple and gold, however, he’s shown he belongs on a team in 2023.
“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,” Peterson said in December 2021 before he re-signed with the Vikings.