Re-Signing Patrick Peterson Makes Sense, On One Condition
The Vikings have positioned themselves for a major overhaul. Back-to-back underwhelming years will do that to a team that has great expectations. The greatest roster turnover will almost certainly take place on the defense, meaning very few players are safe from cuts and trades. One of the key decisions the incoming decision-makers will have to handle rests in the merits of re-signing Patrick Peterson.
The veteran corner played reasonably well, though far from spectacular. He finished as the 64th-best corner in PFF‘s rankings, an improvement on his 83rd spot in the 2020 rankings. It’s notable that his run defense comes in at 41st overall. Even though he’s a little older, Peterson is still strong and physical.
Part of the issue, of course, is that the Vikings needed more. The hope was that he could return to CB1 status, but those days are likely behind him. Gone are the 4.31 wheels that made him an All Pro in Arizona. Nevertheless, there’s still a role for him on this team.
The Vikings paid him $8 million in 2021. It’s a number that’s too big at this stage in his career. If they do bring him back, then it ought to be as the CB2. He can still be effective in the right role. Moreover, his value extends beyond just his personal play. He helps the rest of the defense given how experienced and knowledgeable he is. One thinks of Cameron Dantler’s career upon entertaining another Peterson deal. Re-signing Patrick Peterson would be a help to the now third-year corner.
If you head to Over the Cap, you’ll be able to find a page listing all the cornerback salaries in the NFL. Peterson is in the 25th spot (out of 297). In other words, Peterson didn’t provide great value to the Vikings. He was one of their 10-highest salaries; unfortunately, he missed time during the season like nearly every other player in the team’s top 10 highest salaries. Partner the missed time with solid play and it’s easy to see the deal as at least somewhat misguided.
Moving forward, the Vikings ought to be discussing a Peterson return. The catch, though, is that he needs to come at a discounted price. Like Peterson, Xavier Rhodes is a once-great corner who is now 32. His deal was for $4.77 million. To my mind, something within that range makes perfect sense. Anything north of $6 million is likely too much at this point.
A corner room that begins with Peterson and Dantzler isn’t a bad spot to be. PFF‘s Top 100 Prospects list includes several notable names that should be available at 12th overall. Perhaps Kaiir Elam or Ahmad Gardner could be impact rookies. It’d also be wise for the Vikings to aggressively purse a free agent corner or two. Peterson played 806 snaps out wide and only 14 in the slot. Bringing in someone who can lockdown the slot would be prudent.
In the past, Patrick Peteson has expressed interest in returning to Minnesota, so re-signing him is far from a longshot. The veteran seems to value the broader community, as well as the team itself. A reasonably-priced deal would make sense for both sides.