Patrick Peterson took quite a bit of time before making his decision to return for a second season with the Minnesota Vikings. Despite struggling a bit with injuries and COVID in 2021, Peterson provided a steady veteran presence for a young secondary and still showed the ability that made him an all-world corner during his time with the Arizona Cardinals.
Recently, on his “All Things Covered” podcast, Peterson declared that the Vikings’ defense in 2022 is going to be much different. . .and better. . .than what we saw in 2021.
“I think the defense is going to be a night and day difference in my opinion. Just to have the opportunity to line up and play football,” Peterson said. “There’s not many checks. Not many audibles. We’re forcing teams to beat us. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel and come up with all these crazy blitzes, crazy zones, Line up and play football. At the end of the day that’s all you can do. Teams are going to move the ball up and down the field — just don’t allow them to score touchdowns. If you eliminate that, you’re going to have a great chance of winning. The scheme that we have, it’s going to put us in a position to successful from all levels [of the defense].”
(Thanks to Trevor Squire from Heavy.com for the transcription.)
The Vikings’ defense had their share of struggles in 2021, particularly at the ends of halves and the ends of games. They were the worst team in the NFL in that category since the 2000 season, and the worst by quite some distance in 2021. If Donatell and company can just get that shored up, then the Vikings might take a significant leap forward after all.
From a fan perspective, it’s going to be different to see a Vikings’ defense that doesn’t (apparently) rely as much on the blitz as teams have in the past. It’s going to require a lot of growth from the Vikings’ secondary and some good health from the guys up front to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but Donatell has shown an ability to get a lot out of the defenses he coordinates. He’s got some talent to work with. . .we just need to hope that the chemistry comes together quickly.
Here’s hoping that Patrick Peterson is right about the Vikings’ defensive improvement in 2022. If they can step up, this team has the offense to play complementary football and get this team back to the post-season.