3 Former Vikings Starters Have Struggled with New Teams
This offseason, the Minnesota Vikings parted ways with a number of veteran players who had become synonymous with the purple uniform.
It has been a touch strange seeing these players wearing other jerseys this season, but ultimately, it appears that Minnesota made the correct decision by letting a few of these veterans go. Of course, it is still early in the season, so things can still turn around. For now, though, here is a look at three former Vikings starters who have struggled with their new teams to begin the year.
WR Adam Thielen
Over the course of his Vikings career, Adam Thielen was an extremely reliable receiver. The hometown kid got his NFL career started in Minnesota as an undrafted free agent back in 2013, and over the next decade, he recorded 534 receptions for 6682 yards and 55 TDs.
This offseason, the Vikings released Thielen, and he opted to sign with the Panthers. Through two games, the 33-year-old receiver has not had the usual production that he had in Minnesota.
Thielen has caught nine passes for just 66 yards and a touchdown, and he has struggled to create separation from opposing defenses, averaging just 7.3 yards per reception, by far his career-low. He is on pace for just 564 receiving yards this year, which would be his lowest total since the 2019 season when he played just 10 games.
The Vikings will get a chance to play against Thielen’s Panthers in Week 4 when they travel to Carolina.
RB Dalvin Cook
After four consecutive 1000-yard seasons from 2019-2022, the Vikings made the decision to release Dalvin Cook and turn their rushing offense over to Alexander Mattison.
Through two weeks, Mattison has certainly had his struggles, but it appears that Minnesota made the correct decision to move on from Cook.
Cook has totaled 17 carries through two weeks that have totaled only 40 yards. This has resulted in an average of just 2.4 yards per carry. Meanwhile, Breece Hall has averaged 9.7 yards per carry in the same offense.
CB Patrick Peterson
After a historic career with the Arizona Cardinals, the Vikings signed Patrick Peterson in 2021 to bring a veteran presence to their secondary. His 2022 season was strong in Minnesota, but following the end of his contract, Peterson opted to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers and join Mike Tomlin.
Through two games, Peterson has been targeted 10 times, allowing six receptions for 92 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His opposing passer rating of 130.0 ranks 63rd among 74 CBs to play at least 50% of their team’s coverage snaps.
Meanwhile, Minnesota’s young CBs have been pleasant surprises to begin the year. Akayleb Evans looks very comfortable in his starting role, and Mekhi Blackmon has had some nice flashes over the first two weeks of the season. Again, it seems that Minnesota made the correct decision to move on.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.