Wednesday, January 26, 2022

8x Vikings Pro Bowler sounds like his ideal head coach before waiting for free agency

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Veteran Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson is a pending free agent this offseason, but the eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback and team captain has maintained his desire to remain in Minnesota.

Whether that becomes a reality or now will depend on who the Vikings hire as the franchise’s new general manager and head coach.

Peterson recently weighed his future prospects with the team and gave his two cents on who he would like to see as Minnesota’s next head coach.

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On the Everything covered Podcast, Peterson and his cousin and co-host Bryant McFadden have broken down the candidates he would like to see as Vikings head coach.

His gut reaction was Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, but if Minnesota wants to stick with a defensive-minded head coach, he was also high on the agenda for Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles — both of whom were Buccaneers 2020 Super Bowl season staffers.

“I’d like to see Lefty (Leftwich) get a coaching opportunity, Byron. If they want to go back on defense I’d love to see Coach Bowles. If they want to go back on defense, I’d love to see (Bowles),” Peterson said. “With Minnesota history, they always tend to pick defensive-minded coaches. If they go that route, I think Bowles would be a great choice. Just not just what he’s been able to do over the past two seasons, but also his résumé as far as his defense in general.

Peterson is familiar with their coaching styles and personalities, and played under both coordinators during his time with the Arizona Cardinals. He added that he thought Doug Pederson, former Super Bowl winning coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, would make a good head coach in Minnesota too.

Pederson has a confirmed interview with the Vikings.

Peterson previewed his free agency process, which he hopes will be short-lived given the talent on the Vikings roster.

“I wouldn’t mind,” Peterson said upon his return to Minnesota. “In the end, it comes down to finding a new head coach. More often than not, new head coaches come along and tear up the whole scene. Why do you want to tear this team apart? This is probably the most talented team to fill a coaching position.”

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While many teams might be territorial about emerging talent in their coaching ranks, the Buccaneers have been preparing for Leftwich to take the next step in his career.

Head coach Bruce Arians admitted he was “very, very upset” that Leftwich didn’t get interviews during the 2021 offseason and touted that Leftwich deserves a head coaching job in the NFL.

“I was very, very upset that Byron didn’t get at least one interview this year,” Arians said, per Pro Football Talk. “For the work he’s done… I think I get way too much credit, and Tom Brady too, for the work that Byron has done. Hopefully next year people will see that he took Jameis Winston and broke every single record here, scoring and passing, and now Tom has broken both. He’s done a fantastic job, he’s supposedly everything people are looking for, although this year has been more of a defensive cycle.”

Leftwich is a former first-round quarterback who began his coaching career in 2016 as an offensive assistant with the Cardinals. He rose to the rank of interim offensive coordinator in 2018 before serving in the Tampa Bay position in 2019.

Leftwich’s high-octane offenses helped Jameis Winston throw for 5,109 yards. While Winston’s decision making and excessive aggressiveness resulted in 30 interceptions that season.

But with an experienced quarterback in Brady, Leftwich has helped the 44-year-old reach new heights. Brady had the most passing completions (485) and the third most passing yards (5,316) in NFL history, both career records.

Whichever candidate the Vikings field as their new head coach, they will inherit an arsenal-wielding offense — the kind of firepower Leftwich deployed with the Buccaneers.

“I was very, very upset that Byron didn’t get at least one interview this year,” Arians said, per Pro Football Talk. “For the work he’s done… I think I get way too much credit, and Tom Brady too, for the work that Byron has done. Hopefully next year people will see that he took Jameis Winston and broke every single record here, scoring and passing, and now Tom has broken both. He’s done a fantastic job, he’s supposedly everything people are looking for, although this year has been more of a defensive cycle.”

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