The Minnesota Vikings parted ways with 2022 defensive coordinator Ed Donatell eight days ago after the franchise could not stop the New York Giants offense whatsoever in Round 1 of the postseason.
The Giants dropped the Vikings 31-24 at U.S. Bank Stadium on January 15th, prematurely ending Minnesota’s once-promising season and sending the organization into the offseason searching for defensive solutions.
Patrick Peterson Has Advice on Vikings Coaching Carousel
The Vikings will welcome a new defensive coordinator in mere days (or weeks at the latest), pondering a list of four men [for now], including Sean Desai (Seattle Seahawks), Brian Flores (Pittsburgh Steelers), Ryan Nielsen (New Orleans Saints), and Mike Pettine (Vikings).
Well, Vikings cornerback and soon-to-be free agent Patrick Peterson weighed in on the defensive coaching carousel Thursday, using his podcast All Things Covered with cousin Bryant McFadden to speak his mind. Foremost, Peterson was surprised by the Dontell subtraction, “I was shocked, you know, to see they moved on from Coach Ed.”
“It’s just unfortunate that they had to make that change after just one year. Coach Ed is such a great human being; has a great connection with his players,” Peterson opined about Donatell.
The Vikings finished head coach Kevin O’Connell’s first season ranked 27th in defensive DVOA, 30th in points allowed, and 31st in yards allowed, finding ways to win 13 games with the flimsy defense. An autopsy of the defensive numbers, in retrospect, makes the 13-win campaign and NFC North all the more astounding.
Peterson insisted the team should create more pressure on the quarterback next September, as the 2022 Vikings were able to do just that in the first part of the season until opposing offensive coordinators adjusted down the stretch.
He also endorsed continuity for Minnesota’s 3-4 defensive scheme, so long as the next coordinator thinks aggressively, “I think it has to be a 3-4 scheme — and aggressive — forcing offenses to change their hand.”
Peterson mentioned an aggressive system is “all he’s ever played in” and name-dropped defensive coordinators from his past, including Ray Horton, Vance Joseph, and Todd Bowles. It’s also worth noting that Peterson still sounded very much a part of the Vikings roster, even though he formally becomes a free agent this offseason. He spoke with “we’s,” not “they’s.”
Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah must decide whether to bring Peterson back for a third season in purple, which would mark three seasons for the future Hall of Famer with three different defensive coordinators.
Left up to Peterson, though, he’d enjoy a third act in Minneapolis. He said on the same All Things Covered show last week, “I would love to be there in that purple and gold again and give it a run again just because I love the community there. I love the organization. I love the new regime that [was] brought into that building, the trainers, the strength and conditioning staff. It’s just amazing. I truly believe it felt like home for me. I felt like it was a place that I belonged. But we all know it’s a business.”
“It was very disappointing to end the season in the Bank the way we did, to have so much high hopes and aspirations for the team, but the good part about all of it is that I had an opportunity to continue to grow some great relationships that got better from the year previously,” Peterson added.
Peterson is expected to earn between $5 and $7 million per year on the open market during free agency.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).
All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.