The Vikings cornerbacks experienced their share of ups and downs throughout the 2022 season.
Most reliable for Minnesota was veteran CB Patrick Peterson, who returned for a second season with the Vikings and played all 17 regular-season games. He nabbed five interceptions, which is second only to the seven he had in 2012. Peterson also recorded a career-high 66 total tackles.
The Vikings started Cameron Dantzler, Sr., opposite Peterson to open the season, but the 2020 third-round draft pick again battled injuries and ended up starting just nine games.
Chandon Sullivan signed as a free agent last spring, joining the Vikings from division-rival Green Bay. He manned the nickel spot for Minnesota, also playing all 17 games and notching a career-high seven passes defensed.
View the best photos of Vikings cornerbacks during the 2022 season.
Duke Shelley, who started the season on the Vikings practice squad as an under-the-radar addition, became a bright spot. After being elevated to the team's 53-man roster mid-November, Shelley went on to play 11 games and make five starts.
Shelley was Minnesota's highest-graded corner by analytics site Pro Football Focus, which gave him an overall grade of 82.9. The next-closest was Peterson (77.8).
Kris Boyd played his fourth season for the Vikings but played only 39 defensive snaps, contributing mainly as a core special teams player.
On Dec. 14, Minnesota signed Kalon Barnes off the Dolphins practice squad, and he appeared in three games for the Vikings.
Rookie Andrew Booth, Jr., whom the Vikings drafted 42nd overall, played in six games but was placed on Injured Reserve on Nov. 30 with a knee injury.
Akayleb Evans, a fourth-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, ended up starting two of the 10 games in which he played. The rookie suffered three concussions that ultimately ended his season.
Notable Number: 15
Peterson was challenged time and again and answered the bell, recording 15 passes defensed for his second most in a season (16 in 2012) and helping Minnesota's cornerbacks total 37 passes defensed on the season. The Vikings finished with 87 as a team, which ranked third in the NFL in 2022.
Memorable Moment: 'We only need 5 TDs'
Let's tell it like it is: Things looked bleak for the Vikings at halftime of their Week 15 matchup against the Colts.
Minnesota trailed Indianapolis 33-0 after two quarters, and any chance at getting back in the game seemed out of reach. But Peterson didn't look at it that way.
"I addressed the team before we went back out there. I overheard [Peterson] walk over toward the offense [and say], 'We're going to get stops; you just need five touchdowns. That's nothing.' " Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell recalled. "It was a nice little moment for me to [follow with my comments]. I said, 'Pat, you're exactly right.' That's what we needed at the time."
The Vikings went on to execute Peterson's plan.
Minnesota tied the game at 36-36 at the end of regulation and ended up kicking a 40-yard field goal in overtime to secure the biggest comeback in franchise history.
Sometimes, all you need is belief – and that's exactly what Peterson gave his team.
Appeared in 3 games with no starts; played none of Minnesota's 1,161 defensive snaps
Andrew Booth, Jr.
11 tackles on defense (all solo) and one on special teams; appeared in six games and started one; played 105 defensive snaps (9.0 percent)
5 tackles on defense (4 solo) and 8 on special teams, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery on special teams; played in all 17 games but contributed mainly on special teams; played 37 defensive snaps (3.2 percent)
Cameron Dantzler, Sr.
50 tackles (45 solo), 3 tackles for loss, 5 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery; appeared in 10 games and started nine; played 505 defensive snaps (43.5 percent)
21 tackles on defense (18 solo) and two on special teams, 3 tackles for loss, 2 passes defensed and 1 forced fumble; appeared in 10 games and started two; played 162 defensive snaps (14 percent)
66 tackles (56 solo), 3 tackles for loss, 5 interceptions and 15 passes defensed; started all 17 regular-season games; played 1,105 defensive snaps (95.2 percent)
30 tackles on defense (22 solo) and 1 on special teams, 1 interception and 8 passes defensed; appeared in 11 games and started five; played 397 defensive snaps (34.2 percent)
59 tackles on defense (44 solo) and 1 on special teams, 2 tackles for loss, 7 passes defensed and 1 fumble recovery; appeared in 17 games and started 10; played 945 defensive snaps (81.4 percent)
Bringing home a win from Buffalo
The Vikings had no shortage of roller-coaster games throughout the season, and their trip to Buffalo was no exception.
Minnesota clawed its way back into the game and took the lead after capitalizing on a Josh Allen fumble on the 1 that Eric Kendricks recovered in the end zone. Buffalo drove down the field and kicked a 29-yard field goal to tie it, though.
The Vikings started overtime on offense and took a 33-30 lead with a 33-yard field goal by Greg Joseph. Settling for a field goal instead of a touchdown to open overtime meant the Bills received a possession. They moved down the field to the Vikings 20, but Shelley, who is only 5-foot-9 knocked down a pass intended for 6-4 Bills tight end Dawson Knox in the end zone.
On the next play, Allen took another shot at a touchdown, but the pass to Gabe Davis was intercepted by Peterson to send the Vikings home with another down-to-the-wire win.
Floundered in Philadelphia
The Vikings secondary struggled against the Eagles on Monday Night Football.
After a big Week 1 performance, Minnesota fell at Philadelphia in Week 2 thanks to big performances by the Eagles pass catchers.
The Vikings gave up more than 60 yards receiving to four different Eagles players that evening: Dallas Goedert (82), DeVonta Smith (80), A.J. Brown (69) and Quez Watkins (69).
Jalen Hurts ended the outing 26-of-31 passing for 333 yards, one touchdown and a passer rating of 108.7 – which would have been higher save for an interception by Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks.
Pressing Questions for 2023
1. Will Patrick Peterson return for a 3rd season?
After spending 10 seasons with the Cardinals, Peterson has signed back-to-back one-year contracts with the Vikings.
He has done well for Minnesota's otherwise young cornerbacks group in 2021 and 2022, notching a career-high 66 total tackles this season, in addition to his five interceptions.
Will Peterson, who will turn 33 in July, remain in Purple for a third season? He seemed to thrive under O'Connell in his first season as the Vikings head coach.
Will he be in the plans for newly hired Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores?
2. Are the Vikings starting CBs for 2023 currently on the roster?
Who will Minnesota's starting corners be for the 2023 season?
If Peterson re-signs with the Vikings, he'll of course occupy one spot, but what about the other? Dantzler was slated as the team's main starter opposite Peterson last season, but he again dealt with injuries.
Sullivan, the team's starting nickel, is also due to become a free agent this spring.
Evans logged starting experience, but some questions remain after the rookie suffered three concussions during his first NFL season. And then there's Shelley, who went from practice squad member to reliable contributor in the course of a couple of months. Could he potentially start for Minnesota?
And don't forget about any potential moves Minnesota makes in free agency – or corners they could add through the 2023 NFL Draft.