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Peters Transitioning from CFL's Riders to NFL's Vikings

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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — When players join a new team, they're often tasked with learning new terminology.

Film study can be helpful in dissecting plays and analyzing execution of a scheme, but Vikings linebacker Brian Peters encountered a challenge because of dialect during his time with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

"I had some Canadian coaches, so as you went through film, they'd say, 'This is a good cut here, eh, this is a good block here, eh,' so you don't know if it's a question or if they're just commenting," Peters said with a laugh before adding, "They're all great people up there, and I had a great experience with the Roughriders. They treated me nothing but great and their fan base is amazing, too, so it was a good situation for me."

The language barrier, if you will, has been lifted with Peters moving from a Prairie Province to Eden Prairie where the Vikings incorporated quite a bit of film study during their offseason workout program.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer capitalizes on that setting to address the entire team. He also held an off-the-record session for reporters for a second straight year this spring.

The Vikings have a mandatory minicamp next Tuesday through Thursday, whereas teams north of the border are in the CFL's preseason. Peters signed with Minnesota as a free agent in February and said extra time from the end of the CFL 2014 season helped him recover from that season and train for this one. He's been learning the system of Zimmer and Defensive Coordinator George Edwards since the offseason program began in April.

"The season in the CFL ended earlier so I had more time to train my body and get into my offseason program," Peters said. "I definitely came into OTAs ready here. They're already a week into training camp up there and they have a preseason game on Saturday. I've been in touch with some of my guys up there, but it's a different process. I've got more time to hone my craft down here and get used to Zim's defense, so I appreciate all the time I can get."

Peters played the past two seasons for Saskatchewan and led the Roughriders in 2014 with 78 tackles. He recorded 3.0 sacks, forced a fumble and returned one of his two interceptions for a touchdown. Prior to landing in the CFL, Peters played for the Iowa Barnstormers in the Arena Football League in 2012.

The Ohio native started 34 of his 52 games in college at Northwestern, where he ranks third in school history with 11 interceptions.

He thinks his versatility and experience playing in the secondary and as a linebacker could help his pursuit of a roster spot.

"It's a very versatile defense, and I consider myself a versatile player so hopefully I can find a spot somewhere on the field," Peters said. "It's a great defense. It gives the offense a lot of different looks and that kind of thing. You have to be smart to play in his defense.

"I've kind of gone through the whole gauntlet," Peters added. "I played safety in college and played down in the box a little bit. Then up in Canada, I played linebacker as well, but I also played a two-high look. I'm a versatile player, but down here I'm going to stick with linebacker. I'm going to try to be the best I can be at that and see where it goes. The more you can do, the more valuable you become."

Peters also garnered the Mosaic Community Award that the Roughriders present annually to recognize a player's commitment to the community. He continued that this week by playing in golf tournaments to benefit the Vikings Children's Fund and Chad Greenway's Lead The Way Foundation.

Peters said he appreciated his time in Saskatchewan and is enjoying Minnesota, but he sang about another state during a lull between holes at Greenway's tourney, crooning a couple of lines from George Strait's All My Ex's Live in Texas.

"I like country music; I like all types of dancing music," Peters said. "I like just about everything, but when the sun is shining and it's hot, I like my country music."

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