MINNEAPOLIS — New Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson is the first player to take advantage of the NFL’s relaxed rule on jersey numbers that now permits defensive backs to wear Nos. 1-49.
On his All Things Covered podcast, Peterson said he’ll be switching from the No. 21 he donned for the past decade with the Arizona Cardinals to No. 7, the number he wore during his standout collegiate career at LSU and in high school.
“I always wanted to rock No. 7,” Peterson said. “Once they made the change, it was easy for me because 7 has always been my number. I felt like 7 was my number. Like 21 is Deion’s [Sanders] number, you know what I mean? I just felt like in high school and in college, I made 7 known. You can tell. When I went to LSU, guys wanted to wear No. 7 … I felt like that’s my number.”
The number, which previously belonged to Vikings backup quarterback Nate Stanley, holds special meaning for Peterson, who signed a one-year, $10 million contract with Minnesota last month. When he entered the league in 2011, cornerbacks and safeties were permitted to wear only Nos. 20-49.
Peterson said he was going to wear either No. 24 in honor of Champ Bailey or No. 21, the number made popular by Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders, given he had to pick a double-digit number when entering the NFL in 2011.
Peterson offered up thoughtful compensation in exchange for Stanley’s No. 7 and will be donating new shoulder pads to the football team at Stanley’s alma mater, Menomonie High School in Wisconsin.
Because there likely isn’t much inventory of Vikings jerseys with Peterson’s name and former number, given he signed with the team just a month ago, the cornerback probably won’t need to shell out big bucks to buy back the inventory from the league’s official distributor, per the new rules if players want to make the switch ahead of the 2021 season.
Peterson will be the first non-quarterback or kicker to wear No. 7 in a Vikings uniform.