MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Vikings agreed to a one-year contract worth up to $10 million with eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson on Wednesday night, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team had yet to announce the deal. He'll get an $8 million base salary, with up to $2 million in incentives for playing time and being named All-Pro.
Peterson, a three-time All-Pro pick, played 10 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals after being drafted fifth overall out of LSU in 2011. He has never missed a game due to injury. His only career absences came in 2019, due to a six-game suspension by the NFL for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. Peterson had three of his 28 career interceptions in 2020.
Though he's past his prime at age 30, Peterson will bring some badly needed experience to a cornerback group that went through significant growing and injury pains last year. The top two players at the position are Cameron Dantzler and Jeff Gladney, both rookies in 2020 who while showing some promise were picked on often. Mike Hughes, the first-round draft pick in 2018, has had three straight injury-limited seasons. At age 23, Hughes was the longest-tenured cornerback on the team last year.
Peterson ought to be a good fit with coach Mike Zimmer, who still calls the defense on gamedays and takes a significant role in cornerback development despite being in charge of the team. Zimmer valued the experience and leadership of veteran cornerbacks in the past like Terence Newman and Xavier Rhodes, but there was no one in the room last season to be the mentor.
As the NFL market officially opened Wednesday, the Vikings confirmed their contracts with free agents defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson and backup linebacker Nick Vigil. They also agreed to terms to bring back offensive tackle Rashod Hill, who will compete for a starting spot after the release of Riley Reiff, and wide receiver Chad Beebe for depth.
Tomlinson was the most significant addition on a two-year deal worth up to $22 million, after playing his first four seasons with the New York Giants. The Vikings need some better run-stoppers, after their defense fell apart in 2020 and Zimmer said late in the year it was the worst one he's ever had in his career.
Vigil played last season with the Los Angeles Chargers, after four years with the Cincinnati Bengals. He has played in 69 career games with 39 starts, including all 16 games for the Bengals in 2019 when he posted a personal-best 111 tackles.
To make room under their salary cap for these deals, the Vikings had to release Reiff, tight end Kyle Rudolph, kicker Dan Bailey and defensive tackle Shamar Stephen. They reworked their contracts with punter Britton Colquitt and linebacker Anthony Barr for additional space.
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