Beloved Ex-Viking Dropped by Pittsburgh

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NFL free agency is a few days away, but the Pittsburgh Steelers got the party started early, dropping former Vikings CB Patrick Peterson on Friday.

Former Vikings CB Out in Pittsburgh

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted, “Steelers are releasing eight-time Pro-Bowl CB Patrick Peterson, per sources.”

Former Vikings CB
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Peterson can sign anywhere as early as now. The move by Pittsburgh wasn’t entirely expected, and the former Viking lasted just one season on Mike Tomlin’s team.

Last offseason, the Vikings sought to become more financially nimble via the salary cap, so players like Peterson, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, and Eric Kendricks, among others, were cut. Peterson weighed the open market, expressed interest in joining the Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, and Dallas Cowboys, and later settled on the Steelers for his third chapter.

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Sometime next week, Peterson will likely find a fourth NFL destination (if he doesn’t re-sign with the Cardinals or Vikings).

Peterson produced a 61.5 Pro Football Focus score in 2023 with Pittsburgh, a mark neither very good nor outwardly terrible. He played 97% of all Steelers defensive snaps — a whopping number for anybody, especially a 33-year-old cornerback — while tallying a decent 91.7 passer-rating-against. The man basically played all the time in his 13th NFL season and never got too high or low per production.

Recommendation for Patrick
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Three 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. He 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.

Peterson spent 10 years with the Arizona Cardinals from 2011 to 2020 and will likely be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame sometime in the next decade.

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Possible landing spots for the veteran corner? The Dallas Cowboys would make sense now that Mike Zimmer is in charge of that defense. Peterson played for Kliff Kingsbury in Arizona, and he’s now the offensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders. He also has ties to Vance Joseph, the Denver Broncos’ current defensive coordinator. The Buffalo Bills, too, would check some boxes after Buffalo gutted most of its defense’s veteran presence this week.

The Steelers’ defense ranked sixth leaguewide per DVOA in 2023, and Tomlin likely won’t struggle to keep the enterprise afloat without Peterson. Pittsburgh must use free agency or the draft to replace Peterson, though, as Joey Porter Jr. is the only startable corner currently scheduled to be on the books for 2024. Pittsburgh could also re-sign veteran Levi Wallace.

Peterson will turn 34 in July.

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