Free Agent CB Option Could Be off the Board for Vikings

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The Las Vegas Raiders grabbed a fan-favorite Minnesota Vikings cornerback this offseason, signing Duke Shelley to a one-year, $1.3 million deal in March.

And now that same ball club might snag the most prominent veteran CB on the open market — Marcus Peters.

Free Agent CB Option Could Be off the Board for Vikings

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted Friday, “The Raiders will host FA CB Marcus Peters for a visit and workout on Monday, sources say. Las Vegas visited with Peters earlier this spring, now will take another close look before training camp. The former All-Pro and Pro Bowler had been with the Ravens since 2019.”

Free Agent CB Option
Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters (24) argues with an official after being called for pass interference in the third quarter during a Week 17 NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Baltimore Ravens won, 38-3. © Kareem Elgazzar via Imagn Content Services, LLC..

Although the Vikings front office has no credible ties to Peters’ free agency, fans and media outlets have long suggested a relationship between the two parties to bolster Minnesota’s inexperienced cornerback unit.

The 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.

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In return, the club welcomed veterans Byron Murphy and Joejuan Williams while drafting USC’s Mekhi Blackmon in April. After Murphy, a shoo-in to start, Minnesota will host an open competition this week to determine the other starting cornerback. Last year’s rookies, Andrew Booth and Akayleb Evans, are considered the frontrunners to win the gig.

If the CB battle doesn’t go well, some believed Peters, 30, would be an apt choice as a roster addition. He’s a four-time All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler whose resume brandishes 32 interceptions in 7 seasons as a pro. Peters won’t break the bank this late in free agency, and the Vikings have about $18 million in cap space as of July 23rd. The numbers align from a budget standpoint.

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But with Peters’ tryout in Las Vegas looming Monday — the Raiders, on paper, could use CB help, too — the Vikings may not hop into the free-agent sweepstakes, instead fully leaning into Booth, Evans, and Williams for CB2.

Peters emphatically checks the right boxes for Minnesota (and Las Vegas). 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.

Our own Jeff Diamond, formerly a Vikings general manager, mentioned Peters in May as a possible free-agent fit. 

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 / via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

The Vikings defense ranked 27th in DVOA last year, 30th in points allowed, 31st in passing yards allowed, and 31st in overall yards allowed. Minnesota hired Brian Flores in February in hopes of fixing the poor marks.

If Minnesota misses out on Peters and still wants a piece of the free-agent market, cornerbacks Eli Apple, Anthony Brown, and Williams Jackson are available.

Veterans report to Vikings training camp on Tuesday.

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).

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