8-Time Vikings Pro Bowler Grills Giants WR for Trash Talk

Patrick Peterson

Getty Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson responded to Giants wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins' trash talk with a crucial interception in the fourth quarter of a 27-24 win on December 24, 2022.

Just like his team, Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson made a statement on Christmas Eve.

After jawing with New York Giants wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins throughout their Week 16 matchup, Peterson made a crucial play down the stretch to silence the trash talk from the third-year wideout.

Facing first-and-10 at the Vikings’ 32-yard line with 11:30 remaining, Peterson intercepted a pass intended for Hodgins — forcing a Giants blunder and sabotaging New York’s chance to clinch a playoff spot with a 27-24 victory on December 24.

Hodgins still had a productive day, reeling in eight passes for 89 yards and a touchdown.

But, it was Peterson who had the last laugh, calling back to an earlier back-and-forth with Hodgins after he had beaten Peterson earlier in the game.

“I just told him to stay patient. … ‘Trust me, I am going to get a pick today. If the quarterback gives me enough opportunities, I will get a pick.’ And I made them pay,” Peterson told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero after the game.

Peterson’s intuition has proven true the past two weeks after he encouraged the offense they’d only need five touchdowns to mount their historic comeback over the Colts last week. Again, on Saturday, he just had a “feeling” about his fourth interception of the season.

“It’s just a feeling. I don’t know what it is, something comes to me in my head, like just say it. Literally, ‘All right we need five touchdowns.’ That was just intuition that came to me,” Peterson said in a postgame interview. “Actually, I was on the sideline today and was like, ‘I’m going to get a pick pretty soon. Daniel [Jones] tried me enough to where now he’s feeling a little comfortable and I’m going to go out here and get a pick for us.’

“Ended up getting an interception,” he added. “It’s just the belief I have in myself, the belief I have in my teammates. I’ve seen us grind so hard and so much throughout training camp, throughout OTAs, throughout minicamp, and now it’s just all coming to fruition.”

 Vikings CB Patrick Peterson Calls Out Pro Bowl Snub

Pelissero also asked Peterson how he took being snubbed on the Pro Bowl list, both missing the cut as Pro Bowl mention and alternate this season.

“Very personal,” Peterson told Pelissero. “My stats were a top-5 cornerback overall in the NFL. Rated No. 2 in the NFC. Most snaps. The least targeted. That’s shutdown to me. But it’s a younger man’s game. I guess they said, ‘P2, you’ve made it enough, let’s share the wealth.’ ”

Peterson makes a strong case.

He’s played the third-most snaps in the NFC and fifth-most snaps overall at the position. Peterson has allowed 35 receptions on 60 targets (58.3% completion rate), 12.2 yards per reception and a 70.7 passer rating, per Pro Football Focus (PFF).

A comparable cornerback, Seattle Seahawks rookie Tariq Woolen, allowed 30 catches on 53 targets (56.6%) for 15.1 yards per catch and a 76.8 passer rating. Peterson owns the sixth-highest PFF grade of 81.0 among cornerbacks this season, while Woolen grades out at 68.9.

Yet, Woolen made the Pro Bowl over Peterson.

It’s clear the narrative that Peterson, who made eight consecutive Pro Bowls from his 2011 rookie season to 2018, has fallen off since his final days with the Arizona Cardinals is still salient in the national audience.

But to the Vikings’ benefit, they’ve witnessed the 32-year-old corner have a career renaissance this season.

Vikings Defense Dialing Up More Pressure

Besides the interception, Peterson got in on the pass rush on Saturday with the Vikings defense beginning to shift to more blitzes late in the season.

He circled the edge and was credited with a hit on Daniel Jones, while Danielle Hunter and Khyiris Tonga split the sack — a ruling he laughed about.

“I am going to lobby for it,” Peterson said with a chuckle in his postgame press conference. “That’s a half a sack. I started that. I touched him to force him to step up. I have to talk to DT. First of all, I should get the first half and everybody can split it equally after that.”

Defensive coordinator Ed Donatell came under pressure in recent weeks due to the defense’s predictability and lack of aggressive playcalling.

That’s changed the past two games since a Week 14 loss to the Detroit Lions.

“We’ve had those. Whether you’re sending the nickel, corner, whatever it is. Sometimes a run-stopping pressure. Sometimes just trying to catch off maybe some of their RPO (run-pass option) game or [shotgun] run. I thought Ed was aggressive in spots and continues to kind of make adjustments in the game to give ourselves a chance,” head coach Kevin O’Connell said in a postgame press conference.

“[The defense] held them under 30 percent on third down, forced some turnovers there, and offensively we were able to not have any turnovers,” O’Connell added. “When you win that battle, although sometimes it can feel like a grind against that team, you play clean enough, you’ll give yourself a chance to win in the end. That’s when our team tends to respond.”

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