Oft-Rumored Free Agent Again Linked to Vikings

Dec 8, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters (24) warms up prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings totally embraced a renovation this offseason inside its cornerback room, saying goodbye to five veterans: Patrick Peterson, Duke Shelley, Cameron Dantzler, Chandon Sullivan, and Kris Boyd.

In return, the club welcomed veterans Byron Murphy, Joejuan Williams, and John Reid while drafting USC’s Mekhi Blackmon in April.

Oft-Rumored Free Agent Again Linked to Vikings

Minnesota’s coaching staff evidently has the utmost confidence in its young corners, including last year’s draftees Andrew Booth and Akayleb Evans. They must — it’s the only thing that makes sense after failing to sign any startable CBs following the Murphy addition.

But if the Vikings get lonesome for more veteran cornerback help at training camp or in the preseason, one man has been linked to the club often throughout the last couple of months — free agent Marcus Peters.

Agent Again Linked
Jan 10, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters (24) celebrates after the AFC Wild Card playoff game win against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports.

Our own Jeff Diamond, formerly a Vikings general manager, mentioned Peters in May as a possible free-agent fit. Other websites have called for the man’s services in Minnesota, too. And this week, Bleacher Report joined the club, naming the Vikings, Tennessee Titans, and Las Vegas Raiders as best fits for Peters.

BR’s Maurice Moton noted on Peters’ free agency, “At every stop in his NFL career, Marcus Peters has done one thing exceptionally well, and that’s force turnovers. He’s recorded 32 career interceptions with at least three in a season for six out of his seven pro years, which is a testament to his ball-tracking consistency. In stints with the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams and Baltimore Ravens, Peters took the field as arguably the most impactful playmaking cornerback on his team.”

Oct 11, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters (24) runs with the ball after an interception in the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Peters is a four-time All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler whose resume brandishes 32 interceptions in 7 seasons as a pro.

“Sure, he’s shared the field with All-Pros Jalen Ramsey and Marlon Humphrey, but the two elite cover men have just one pick-six combined. Peters has returned six interceptions for touchdowns, turning sticky coverage into offense with the ball in his hands. Peters has hit a low point in his career though. In September of 2021, he tore his ACL and struggled in coverage last season, allowing a 113.7 passer rating with just one interception and six pass breakups,” Moton continued.

Team to Watch for All
Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters (24) and his teammates stomp on the Titans logo after Peters picked up an interception to seal their win over the Tennessee Titans in Nashville on January 10, 2021. © Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

Peters won’t break the bank this late in free agency, and the Vikings have about $18 million in cap space as of July 7th. The numbers align from a budget standpoint.

Moton concluded, “Still, Peters gets the benefit of the doubt. Two years after a serious knee injury, he could bounce back into Pro Bowl form in a predominantly man-to-man scheme.”

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (85) drops a pass as Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters (24) defends in the first quarter of an NFL wild-card playoff football game on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Baltimore Ravens 24-17. © Albert Cesare/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Peters emphatically checks the right boxes for Minnesota. Its cornerback room lacks experience. Peters does not. The Vikings corners have no accolades — like at all. Peters has all the accolades. And no one knows for sure if Booth and Evans are ready for true-blue starting gigs.

It is unclear if Minnesota will actually explore Peters’ free agency — but it should.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.