Vikings Still a Team to Watch for All-Pro Free Agent

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.

Byron Murphy, Andrew Booth, and Akayleb Evans — those are the Minnesota Vikings options as starting cornerbacks for 2023.

The team needs more.

Vikings Still a Team to Watch for All-Pro Free Agent

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could use his first or second pick on a cornerback in the 2023 NFL Draft, but if that rookie isn’t ready for Week 1, the Vikings may need another cornerback from free agency.

That’s why free agent Marcus Peters is still a player to watch in the next few weeks or months regarding Minnesota’s free-agent wishlist.

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.

The Vikings wouldn’t need Peters to be Mr. Everything in 2023, but his experience could be incredibly valuable, especially because Patrick Peterson bolted for the Pittsburgh Steelers in March. Bleacher Report published an article Sunday detailing one free agent for each team to target in April, and for the Vikings, Peters was the guy. BR’s David Kenyon explained, “The chorus will not quiet down until Minnesota pads a secondary that was 31st in passing yards allowed last year. Even after signing Byron Murphy Jr., the Vikings could use another cornerback of Peters’ caliber.”

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports.

“The question is money, as Minnesota sits last in the league with just $1.1 million in cap space, but it could find the room if linebacker Za’Darius Smith is not retained, as he reportedly hopes, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport,” Kenyon added.

Cornerback isn’t a position to gloss over in the modern pass-happy NFL, so CB help must arrive for the Vikings in free agency, trade, or the NFL draft. It’s not really optional. Peters, 30, last played for the Baltimore Ravens and is likely looking for one more team to finish out a wonderful career. The four-time All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler fired up a 67.7 Pro Football Focus grade in 13 games last year and remains on free agency’s open market.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports.

Adofo-Mensah signed the aforementioned Murphy for CB1 duty in 2023, but that can’t be the end-all fix when “the other two” options were rookies riddled by injury in 2022. Booth hardly played (and wasn’t good when he did), and Evans suffered back-to-back concussions. If the Vikings want to contend for the playoffs, they need about one or two more trustworthy CBs.

The glory days for Peters are in the rearview, but he could have some production left in the tank. He played 736 defensive snaps in 2022, making his case for a relationship with the Vikings or another team as more than just a CB4 type.

Peters, a 1st-Rounder from the 2015 NFL Draft, could serve as a team leader after Peterson’s exodus. The Vikings lost Peterson, linebacker Eric Kendricks, wide receiver Adam Thielen, and defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson this offseason — all players with pronounced roles in the locker room. Peters could bridge the gap from 2022 to 2023 in that vein.

In eight seasons, Peters has tabulated 32 interceptions, four All-Pro nods, three Pro Bowls, and won Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2015. If Peters is not on Adofo-Mensah’s radar, other free-agent CBs like William Jackson, Shaquill Griffin, Eli Apple, and Rock Ya-Sin are signable, too. But those players can sign with 31 others teams, too, at any time.

The Vikings defense ranked 27th in 2022 per DVOA.


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 OverTheCap.com.

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