Vikings’ Patrick Peterson also mentors young receivers
Cornerback actually has been working with one Vikings receiver since he was 11.
MINNEAPOLIS — It’s well known that longtime cornerback Patrick Peterson is a big help on the Vikings mentoring young defensive backs. But he’s also a key asset for their young receivers.
Peterson, 32, made eight Pro Bowls in 10 seasons with Arizona before coming to Minnesota last season. He re-signed in March, and first-year offensive coordinator Wes Phillips has become very impressed with his teaching skills.
“He’s a guy that’s talking to guys, both on defense … and then talking to the young wideouts,’’ Phillips said Sunday. “(He’s) saying, ‘Hey, here’s how I jumped that route. Here’s how I knew you were going to break there.’ That kind of stuff, from a guy with his experience, his level of play, is really invaluable.”
Peterson made $8 million in 2021 before returning to Minnesota on a one-year, $4 million deal that could be worth an additional $1 million with incentives. He came back because he is optimistic about the team’s prospects, and he wanted to continue his work with young players.
“Once I come to that point of, “Ah, it’s just another training camp,’ I think it’s going to be time for me to retire,’’ Peterson said before getting a veteran day off from practice Sunday. “But I love the game so much. I love coming to work every day. I love trying to invest into these young guys for the future, to keep the game in good hands, and I feel like that’s my duty.”
One receiver Peterson dispenses advice to is second-year man Myron Mitchell.
“He knows what he’s talking about,’’ said Mitchell, who returned to practice after being out one day with a quad injury. “He’s as smart as a coach, so any advice he does give us, we definitely take it into consideration.”
Peterson actually has been working with one Vikings receiver since he was 11. That would be Justin Jefferson, the brother of former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson. Jordan was Peterson’s teammate at LSU.
“He’s up there already,’’ Peterson said of Jefferson being one of the NFL’s top receivers. “There’s not many weaknesses in his game. I’m just excited to see, just honored to see where he was when he was 11 years old and I first met him to where he is right now.”
So how good was Jefferson at 11?
“He was really good,’’ Peterson said. “I remember him telling me all the time he’s going to make these same catches that he was making in the parking lot at (LSU’s) Tiger Stadium.”
As for the young defensive backs Peterson mentors, he said third-year cornerback Cameron Dantzler is making great strides. He said Dantzler’s first two seasons, when he had some struggles as a part-time starter, are “behind him now.”
“Cameron definitely is playing with a lot of swagger and a ton of confidence,’’ Peterson said. “You can tell he understands the situation that he’s in completely and taking that task head on.”
Reed at center
With Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell having said that holdover starting center Garrett Bradbury is not guaranteed of having that role to start the season, Chris Reed has a chance to win the job.
Reed, who has been getting work at center with the second team, has primarily been a guard since entering the NFL in 2015. To be an effective center, Phillips said snapping is the most important thing for Reed as well as having a comfort level with the quarterbacks and communication skills.
“Chris has shown mentally that he knows the game and that he can communicate,” Phillips said. “Some guys are just mutes. They get up there, they don’t speak. Those aren’t good center candidates, but Chris has done a nice job.”
The day before Monday’s night practice, the Vikings had a light practice, although they did do some conditioning work with running drills in the middle. … Safety Harrison Smith did little in practice, and right guard Jesse Davis had a scheduled day of rest for his surgically repaired knee. On the first team, rookie Lewis Cine filled in for Smith and rookie Ed Ingram for Davis. Phillips said Ingram is “continuing to improve every day.”
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