Vikings replace Patrick Peterson with an unmistakable upgrade

The Vikings defense is undergoing a major facelift with sweeping changes, but replacing Patrick Peterson is really just a big upgrade.

Brian Flores is taking over the Minnesota Vikings defenseman going into the 2023 season, which is something fans thank any god they show their gratitude to. However, changes seem to be coming in bulk for this group. This is especially true in the cornerback room.

Not only is veteran Patrick Peterson now gone to Pittsburgh, ironically coming from Flores, but the team also fired former third-round draft pick Cameron Dantzler. Outside of 2022 second-round draft pick Andrew Booth Jr., though, that left Minnesota in need of a replacement for Peterson on the outside to support the secondary.

They figured it out as good a replacement as they could on Tuesday night.

According to NFL insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, the Vikings are signing former Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy to a two-year contract worth nearly $22 million.

Vikings replace Patrick Peterson with promotion to Byron Murphy

Admittedly, Peterson has been pretty good at covering in the 2022 season. But that’s an anomaly given his recent record prior to last year, and at 33, it’s hard to imagine that becoming the norm. As for Murphy, that’s a different and much better story for the Vikings.

Murphy had a tough rookie season in Arizona but got better and more versatile with each season. He has improved in coverage as well as proving that he can play in the hole or out, but he’s also a better outfield running back than Peterson has been for some time.

When you look at Flores and think about the big changes the Vikings defense needs, having a well-rounded, up-and-coming tackler like Murphy with another young cornerback in Booth makes sense. It’s an upgrade in terms of Murphy’s best years leading up to him with how he’s progressed but also in terms of putting in a new culture and mindset for the unit that just needs that.

There were far more departures from Minnesota than newcomers so far in the off-season. But landing Murphy was a huge splash the team had to make, especially with Peterson and Dantzler now gone.

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