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Vikings Place CB Patrick Peterson on Injured Reserve With Hamstring Injury

Peterson will miss at least three games but the Vikings don't believe this will end his season.

The Vikings have placed veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson on injured reserve, the team announced on Monday afternoon. Peterson hurt his hamstring in the fourth quarter of the Vikings' win over the Panthers, came up limping, and had to be carted off the field. The team listed him as questionable to return with "cramps," but it was late in the game and Peterson didn't play again after the injury.

Mike Zimmer said he doesn't believe this will be season-ending for Peterson. But by going on IR, the 31-year-old will have to miss at least three games. After the bye week, the Vikings face a tough slate of opposing offenses in the Cowboys, Ravens, and Chargers, three teams that are led by dynamic quarterbacks. Following those three games, the Vikings can designate Peterson to return, allowing him to begin practicing again. The earliest he would be able to play is Week 11 against the Packers.

This is a major loss for the Vikings. Peterson was their big offseason acquisition for the secondary, as he signed a one-year, $8 million deal to play for Zimmer and the Vikings. The potential future Hall of Famer had spent the first ten years of his career with the Cardinals, but they didn't offer him a contract this offseason and Peterson was looking for a place where he could bounce back after a down season in 2020.

Through six weeks, that's exactly what he had done. Peterson was playing at a high level in coverage, particularly in recent weeks. Over the past three games, he allowed just nine completions on 19 targets in his coverage, per Pro Football Focus. That included two important third-down pass breakups in Week 5 against the Lions.

Now the Vikings will turn to Bashaud Breeland and Cameron Dantzler as their outside cornerbacks for at least the next three games. Breeland, another free agent pickup, had a disastrous start to the season but has turned it around in a big way over the past couple games, admittedly against lower-quality quarterbacks.

Dantzler had a promising rookie year and has had a strange start to his second season, appearing to get in Zimmer's doghouse early in the year but playing well so far in his opportunities.

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"Patrick's played really well, we'll miss him for sure, but Dantzler's done decent and so has Breeland," Zimmer said on Monday.

Behind those two, the Vikings have Kris Boyd, Harrison Hand, Parry Nickerson, and Tye Smith. Mackensie Alexander will continue to operate as their slot corner.

No matter how you look at it, this is an unfortunate blow for the Vikings' defense. Peterson was playing quite well, and losing a veteran with his ability, experience, and leadership hurts. He was named a captain this year despite being in his first season with the Vikings.

Hamstring injuries can be tricky, especially for a 31-year-old with 160 career games under his belt, but hopefully Peterson will be able to come back strong in a month or so.

The Vikings signed offensive tackle Blake Brandel to the practice squad to take Peterson's roster spot.

In other injury news, Zimmer said the Vikings "should get [Michael] Pierce back here pretty quick." The big nose tackle has missed the last two games with an elbow injury.

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