It’s the end of an era in the desert.
Eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson is leaving Arizona after signing a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings for reportedly $10 million.
Peterson was the No. 5 pick in the 2011 draft and transformed the Cardinals’ secondary for years to come.
As a rookie, he was the first player in NFL history to have four punt returns of 80+ yards for touchdowns. In his first eight seasons of his career, he started in 128 games.
He intercepted 28 passes in his 10-year career and notched 499 combined tackles in 154 games.
Peterson’s play devolved the past two seasons. In 2019, Peterson appeared in only 10 games due to a six-game suspension for using a performing-enhancing drug. Those are the only six games he did not start in his NFL career.
According to Pro Football Focus, his coverage grade dropped from 83.7 in 2018 – 10th best among corner backs that year – to 64.3 (76th) in 2019 and 53.1 (147th) in 2020.
He also led the league in penalties in 2020 with 12.
Despite this downtick in play the past two years, Peterson will be considered one of the best players to play for the franchise. He posted arguably his best numbers in the Cardinals’ 2015 run to the NFC Championship.
Peterson’s departure feels like a turn of the page within the franchise, and that feeling may be more pronounced if Larry Fitzgerald does not return to the team either.
While the wide receiver’s future is still unclear, it’s fair to assume it won’t be long before #21 and #11 hang up in the rafters of State Farm Stadium.