The Patrick Peterson Era in Minnesota Is Over

Vikings Reportedly Want
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

All good things come to an end, and Patrick Peterson’s run with the Minnesota Vikings lasted two years.

The cornerback joined the Vikings during the 2021 free-agency period and performed admirably in 2021 and 2022 on team-friendly deals.

The Patrick Peterson Era in Minnesota Is Over

But it was evidently time to move on, as Peterson reportedly signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday.

The Patrick Peterson
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NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted, “Source: The Steelers are signing Pro Bowl CB Patrick Peterson. A surprise! A perennial star headed to a historic franchise to beef up their back end.”

Two years ago, no one in the Vikings community believed Peterson was on then-GM Rick Spielman’s radar, but the eight-time Pro Bowler reportedly wanted to play for Mike Zimmer. And the experiment worked. Peterson produced a remarkable 2022 regular season, ranking as the league’s 12th-best cornerback, according to PFF. The 32-year-old turned back the clock to 2018 or so, grading an outstanding 77.8. He was phenomenal, impacting a defense that needed all the silver linings it could find.

Patrick Peterson’s Game Was Bend but Don’t Break
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Peterson chatted with ESPN’s Adam Schefter right before the beginning of free agency and expressed his desire to possibly play for the Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, or Philadelphia Eagles. He told Schefter specifically about the Bengals, “Man, I really like what the Bengals have. They have a quarterback. They have a great establishment on the offensive side of the ball. I know Eli Apple’s gonna be a free agent, an impending free agent coming up. I feel like I can come in there and help those guys.”

Now, he’ll join the Bengals rival. Apparently, that was just a preliminary wishlist because Peterson ultimately signed with none of those teams and will instead join former Vikings coach Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh.

Recapping Vikings Players to Watch Vs. Cardinals 
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Four months ago, Peterson was asked by the Pioneer Press Chris Tomasson about remaining with the Vikings in 2023, and he replied, “No doubt about it. I don’t want to go anywhere else. I’m not trying to go anywhere but Minnesota. I love everything around here. I would love to stay put.”

After that, Peterson stated his desire to return with the Vikings multiple times, but the team’s front office may not have agreed. With Peterson subtracted from the roster, Minnesota has Kalon Barnes, Andrew Booth, Akayleb Evans, and Tay Gowan under contract at cornerback. They’ll need more starting quality corners than that if they wish to contend for the postseason in 2023.

Moreover, the 33-year-old joins his cousin Bryant McFadden’s former team. Peterson and McFadden host a podcast together, All Things Covered. McFadden spent six years in Pittsburgh.

Peterson has never played in the AFC — until now. He spent 10 years with Arizona Cardinals from 2011 to 2020 and will likely be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame sometime in the next decade.

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,’ and The Doors (the band).

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