The Minnesota Vikings had one of the cornerbacks rooms in the league last season and took to free agency to address the lack of experience this offseason.
Minnesota agreed to terms on a one-year, $10 million contract with former Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, per Adam Schefter.
Peterson, 30, made eight consecutive appearances in the Pro Bowl from 2011 to 2018 and was selected as an All-Pro three times in that span. Last season, Peterson recorded 61 tackles, three interceptions while allowing 50 receptions on 75 targets.
The Vikings released third-year cornerback Holton Hill before the 2020 season ended as the former 2018 undrafted rookie struggled with injury throughout his career. Mike Hughes, a 2017 first-round pick, held the role of elder statesman entering the offseason.
Hughes, who has suffered season-ending neck injuries the past two seasons, enters the final year of his contract after Minnesota opted to not exercise his fifth-year option. Peterson’s durability is unrivaled among actives cornerbacks in the league. The 10th year veteran has played all 16 games in every season since 2011 besides 2019, when he was suspended six games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
Peterson likely becomes a favorite to start opposite of 2020 third-round rookie Cameron Dantzler on the outside, while Hughes and 2020 first-rounder Jeff Gladney are poised to compete for the role of nickel corner.
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Mike Zimmer Has Hands on the Purse Strings in Free Agency
The Vikings’ biggest free agency signings have both come on defense at two of the most important positions to coach Mike Zimmer: cornerback and defensive tackle.
Minnesota signed former New York Giants defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson on Monday to plug up the interior line after the defense ranked 27th last season. Both positions were high priority and were expected to be addressed in the draft.
While Zimmer got his pick of the two biggest moves of Vikings free agency, the organization now pivots to the draft where general manager Rick Spielman will get his picks and develop the future of the franchise.
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Peterson Looking for a Fresh Start
Peterson’s name proceeds himself as the signing is likely the biggest splash Minnesota will make this offseason.
However, Peterson is coming off a season where he struggled. Peterson posted his worst Pro Football Focus coverage grade (53.1) since his rookie year and led all cornerbacks in penalties (12).
Pro Football Focus projected that Peterson would garner a contract worth $12.5 million a year as the Vikings’ signing proves to be a team-friendly deal.
Peterson, who’s made a living off shadowing receivers and leaning on his athleticism, likely has lost a step that Zimmer can help him find by refining the veteran cornerback’s technique.
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