Patrick Peterson Continues Turning Back the Clock
Usually when a cornerback enters his age-32 season, you’d expect there to be some sort of decline. This is especially so when the years after turning 30 already showed serious drop-offs in production. So far into the 2022 season, this has not been the case for veteran CB Patrick Peterson who continues turning back the clock with each passing week.
From 2019-2021, the signs of the end for Peterson seemed apparent. He missed the first six games of the 2019 season with a PED suspension, and while he played well over the final 10 games, it certainly wasn’t the lockdown version of the Cardinals CB that we’d gotten used to. It was the first time in his career that he didn’t make the Pro Bowl.
Then, 2020 and 2021 saw massive drop offs. Peterson allowed receptions on 50 of his 75 targets in 2020, per PFF. Then, despite joining the Vikings in free agency to help bolster an inexperienced secondary, Peterson remained a huge liability throughout the season.
That said, all is forgiven with how he’s played through six weeks of the 2022 season. The three-time All-Pro has had one of the best starts to a season that he’s ever had.
This included a Week 6 game in Miami where he was absolutely everywhere. Against the Dolphins, Peterson recorded three pass defenses for the seventh time in his career and the first time since 2019. He also had an interception that essentially sealed the win for Minnesota.
This big performance was just the latest in a month-long stretch where the veteran has stepped up in a massive way for the Vikings. It’s the third time in the last four games that Peterson has recorded multiple pass defenses. He hasn’t done that since 2013.
Through six weeks, Peterson now is tied for the fifth-most pass defenses in the NFL with seven. His career high came in 2012 when he recorded 16, and he is now on pace to beat that mark.
For a young secondary that is trying to figure out how to play defense at the NFL level, the fact that the veterans are stepping up is huge. Peterson and safety Harrison Smith have done a great job of playing physical defense while not being penalized, and it has certainly helped the Vikings improve to 5-1.
Following their bye week, the Vikings have multiple matchups with some of the best receivers in the league, so Minnesota’s continued success relies on Peterson’s strong play continuing. In four consecutive games, here are the players at WR1 for their opponents:
- DeAndre Hopkins (ARI)
- Terry McLaurin (WSH)
- Stefon Diggs (BUF)
- CeeDee Lamb (DAL)
The Vikings bend-don’t-break defense has done a great job of not allowing opponents to break off too many big plays this year. This has helped them allow less than 20 points per game this season. If Minnesota can get through this next portion of their schedule relatively unscathed, that will be huge moving into the closing stretch of the season.
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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken
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