Vikings Make Final Call on Star Cornerback Patrick Peterson

Patrick Peterson, Vikings

Getty Cornerback Patrick Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings reacts after tackling wide receiver Richie James of the New York Giants during the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at U.S. Bank Stadium on January 15, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Vikings have made a decision on the future of eight-time Pro-Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson.

Darren Wolfson of KSTP made an appearance on SKOR North’s Mackey and Judd on Monday, March 6, during which he reported that the team wants Peterson back for at least a third season.

The news comes as something of a surprise considering the transition to Brian Flores at defensive coordinator, a move that will mean more press-man coverage in the secondary, which will leave the 12-year veteran on a proverbial coverage island more often than might be good for business.

“I’m told [Flores] absolutely wants Patrick Peterson back,” Wolfson said. “I’m led to believe strongly that the Vikings definitely want Patrick Peterson back.”

Patrick Peterson Has Expressed Strong Interest in Return to Vikings

Patrick Peterson

Getty ImagesCornerback Patrick Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates after an interception during a game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Wanting Peterson back isn’t the same as a guarantee he will return, though the cornerback has made his own thoughts on a new arrangement with the Vikings publicly known as well.

Peterson referred to the organization as “home” during a January edition of his All Things Covered podcast, adding that he wants to return in 2023 and beyond.

“No doubt about it. I would love to be in that purple and gold again and give it a run again. It’s just amazing, man. I truly believe, it felt like home to me. It felt like it was a place that I belong,” Peterson said. “I feel like the future is very bright. [Head coach Kevin O’Connell and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah] were able to build and establish their brand right out of the gate. Now they set the standard for themselves.”

With Flores on board, it appears all the pieces of the puzzle will fit together this offseason, though there remains one significant caveat — Peterson’s contract.

Contract Negotiations Last Hurdle to Peterson, Vikings Reunion

Patrick Peterson

GettyCornerback Patrick Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings warms up prior to a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on January 8, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

The cornerback will turn 33 years old in July and noted on the same January podcast episode referenced above that he would like to play four more seasons and contend for, and hopefully win, a Super Bowl ring.

Spotrac projects Peterson’s market value at $6.4 million annually and suggests that he is worth just a one-year deal. He played in Minnesota on a one-year contract in 2021 for $8 million and returned last season for $4 million.

But Peterson showed out as clearly the Vikings’ best and most reliable/available defensive back last year, defensing 15 passes and making five interceptions while starting all 17 games, per Pro Football Reference.

On the one hand, Peterson is showing no signs of slowing down after a resurgent 12th campaign in the NFL that didn’t result in an All-Pro nod or a Pro-Bowl selection, but probably could have, and maybe even should have.

On the other hand, last season’s performance and Peterson’s stated desire to play through the age of 36 could be an issue for a cash-strapped Vikings squad that is attempting to get younger and cheaper, particularly on the defensive side of the football.

Adofo-Mensah made the first big move toward that goal on Monday when the team released linebacker Eric Kendricks, an eight-year Vikings veteran who has started more than 100 games in Minnesota over the course of his career. The move saved the team $9.5 million, though the Vikings remain nearly $16 million over the salary cap with several more cuts to big-name players expected in the coming weeks.

Wolfson’s reporting on Monday made it clear the Vikings want Peterson back, though he noted he was unsure if talks had begun with the cornerback’s agent. Peterson’s comments over the last couple of months have made it clear he wants to return. But the price will have to be right on both sides for the deal to get done and considering Minnesota’s current financial position, there are still no guarantees.

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