Minnesota Vikings' Patrick Peterson deal among worst NFL free agent signings in 2021

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic
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Patrick Peterson's deal with the Minnesota Vikings in NFL free agency on Wednesday night turned heads.

It also left one NFL writer scratching his head.

Touchdown Wire's Doug Farrar wrote about his concerns with the signing for the Vikings, which was reported as a one-year deal for $10 million.

Peterson, 30, spent 10 years with the Cardinals, where he was an eight-time Pro Bowler. 

He started all 16 games last season and finished with three interceptions and 61 tackles, his most since his rookie year in 2011 (64). Per Pro Football Reference's advanced stats, he was targeted 79 times and allowed 53 catches, five of which were touchdowns. 

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Farrar gave the deal a D grade for Minnesota, and included it on a list of the worst signings in NFL free agency so far this season.

Farrar wrote: "Sometimes as an impartial NFL analyst, you hate writing these things. Because there are times when you have to admit in public that a player just doesn’t have it anymore. And that player might be a future Hall of Famer and a great guy who has done most everything the right way. Sadly, that’s what must now be said about Patrick Peterson, the eight-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro, and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-2010s team. All of those awards are legit, but Peterson’s last two seasons have been — and there’s no other way to put it — a comparative disaster.  The Vikings just signed Peterson, who had never played for anyone but the Cardinals, to a one-year, $10 million deal. That’s not big money for a cornerback per se, but it doesn’t do much for a Minnesota secondary that could lose safety Anthony Harris in free agency and has two 2020 rookies — Cameron Dantzler and Jeff Gladney — who struggled through most of their inaugural seasons."

He continued: "At age 30 (he’ll turn 31 in July), Peterson isn’t going to make a ton of plays anymore by matching the league’s best receivers through every nuance of their routes. But he does still bring minimal value as a guy who knows how to read quarterbacks, has an excellent sense of where the ball is going, and gets there to create incompletions and interceptions at times. The Vikings  just have to understand the value of his adaptive strategies, and will need to work around the skills that have eroded over time."

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Not everyone was quite as harsh on the signing of Peterson with the Vikings, however.

Pro Football Focus gave the signing an "average" grade.

It wrote: "Peterson will join a young cornerback group that features Mike Hughes along with 2020 draft selections Cameron Dantzler and Jeff Gladney. This isn’t great value for Minnesota considering Peterson’s dip in play of late, but the hope will be that a change in scenery helps brings out the player who allowed fewer than 400 yards into his coverage in each of the 2017 and 2018 seasons."

Fansided also held the deal in higher regard, giving it a B+.

Cody Williams wrote: "There’s no doubt that Peterson has dropped a step from being one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. There’s no denying the fact, though, that the former Cardinal has the ability to play a solid role in a team’s secondary. Minnesota hit a hard reset on the cornerback room last offseason. However, their young corners, though talented, struggled. Bringing in a veteran with some miles still left in the tank should help that room a lot — though this is expensive."

Patrick Peterson will now be on the same team as Kirk Cousins after the former Arizona Cardinals player signed with the Minnesota Vikings in NFL free agency.

Bleacher Report also gave the move a B+.

Gary Davenport wrote: "The Minnesota Vikings had all kinds of problems defensively in 2020, especially against the pass. Now they are hoping a grizzled veteran can help whip that secondary into shape in 2021. There was a time when Patrick Peterson was arguably the best cornerback in the NFL. The 30-year-old made the Pro Bowl in each of his first eight seasons. That's no longer the case. In each of the past two seasons, he has allowed over 65 percent of the passes thrown in his direction to be completed with a passer rating against of nearly 100. But the Vikings hedged their bets with the 11th-year veteran by inking him to a one-year deal. And given the sort of money cornerbacks like William Jackson III have gotten in free agency this year, $10 million isn't outrageous for a player with Peterson's resume. He'll also be the team's best cover man the moment he steps off the plane in the Twin Cities."

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