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Humility + Know-How: Why Patrick Peterson & Karl Scott Make Ideal Player-Coach Pair

EAGAN, Minn. – Vikings defensive backs coach Karl Scott is just five years older than cornerback Patrick Peterson.

But Scott has plenty of wisdom to impart, and Peterson is all ears. They're each entering their first season with the Vikings, but both arrived in Minnesota with quite impressive résumés.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer hired Scott to take over defensive backs after he spent three seasons at Alabama under Nick Saban. And Peterson? Originally the No. 5 overall pick in 2011 by Arizona, the 31-year-old is an eight-time Pro Bowler and has thrice been named First-Team All-Pro by The Associated Press.

Peterson has 10 NFL seasons under his belt and scores of accolades, but he's always ready to learn and improve.

"Oh man, Coach Karl has been great," Peterson told Twin Cities media members following Saturday’s practice at U.S. Bank Stadium. "Obviously, I've been in the league for [going on] 11 years, but I'm not any bigger than anyone in this room. I'm always open for coaching, open for tips, anything that these guys can give me to help me better my game, prolong my game, as well.

"Coach Karl is one of the better DB coaches I've been around, the way he's able to give us knowledge, how he's able to present things to us to make sure that we're on our Ps and Qs when it's time to go out on the football field," Peterson continued. "He's just been very, very dialed in. From the beginning of the meetings to the end of the meetings, he's always the same. That's all you can ask for, for the coach to be the same assistant each and every day."

Scott had equally high praise for Peterson, whom he said is a true corner, which is the best compliment you can give someone at that position.

Huh? Well, let Scott explain.

"So many times you hear these guys as 'lockdown corners' or 'Cover 2 corner' or whatever it is, but Pat's a corner – meaning that he does everything in his game," Scott emphasized. "As far as his preparation, too – he does rub off on the young guys.

"The way he approaches it from being the first person out here for walk-throughs, first person in meetings, the questions that he has, and he's not [too big to] take coaching. He's eager for coaching," Scott said. "He wants his game to evolve, so as far as having him, definitely he makes me a better coach, but then again too, he makes us a better room."

Scott told reporters that having a player of Peterson's caliber in the room keeps him on his toes from a coaching standpoint, which is nothing but beneficial for everyone.

Peterson's résumé, as mentioned, speaks for itself. And yet along with a new jersey color, he's arrived with a blank slate ready to see how this transition could add to an already illustrious career.

Scott noted that Peterson "is a guy who understands you're always learning," no matter the circumstance.

"My job is to continue to give those new things to him – and he's open to those things. You might look at him as a guy that you can't coach. 'He's good enough, he knows what to do, just put him out there.' But it's totally the opposite of that," Scott said. "Pat wants to know, he wants to be critiqued, he wants to know what he's doing wrong or what he can improve on, and not only that, but when you give it to him, he's willing to apply it on the field."

And providing Peterson with feedback can have a ripple effect.

"You've got young guys in there, and if you're telling Pat Pete corrections and critiquing his game, you're almost a fool as a young guy to balk at anything else," Scott pointed out.

It's been noted that Peterson had a "down" season in 2020 compared to previous years, but make no mistake about it: Opponents are well-aware of what he brings to the table.

So new team or not, opposing quarterbacks will know exactly where No. 7 is on the field.

"A lot of times you have that target on your back," Scott said. "Everybody knows who Pat Peterson is, so it comes with the territory. And then the position that you play, you've heard it before too – you've got to have a short memory. You've got to have a memory where your highs are not really lived as long as your lows.

"You can lock a guy down for nine reps and then on the 11th rep, 10th rep, he catches the ball and then everybody sees that on 'SportsCenter,' " Scott added. "Pat, his psychological disposition that he brings to the position, you love to see that, and you love for him to rub off on the other guys too, which he has."