Patrick Peterson is going back to his roots. As the veteran cornerback begins the newest chapter of his NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings, he’ll be doing so while donning No. 7. This decision comes after the NFL loosened its restrictions on what numbers players can wear beginning this upcoming season. Now, defensive backs — like Peterson — can elect to wear single digits, which were previously marked for quarterbacks and kickers.
Those who’ve followed Peterson throughout his football career also know that the No. 7 carries with it a special meaning for him. As he noted on the latest episode of the «All Things Covered» podcast with CBS Sports NFL analyst and former Steelers corner Bryant McFadden, it’s a nod to his playing days before the NFL when he wore the No. 7 in high school and at LSU.
«That’s where it all started,» Peterson said while announcing the change.
«I always wanted to rock No. 7,» he added. «Once they made the change, it was easy for me because seven has always been my number. I felt like seven 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 seven known. You can tell. When I went to LSU, guys wanted to wear No. 7.»
When Peterson was coming into the NFL in 2011 and was no longer able to wear No. 7, he noted that he was deciding between No. 24 and No. 21, to honor two of his idols in Champ Bailey and Deion Sanders. He ultimately chose to go with No. 21, which he donned throughout his tenure with the Arizona Cardinals.
From a financial standpoint, this move to the Vikings coinciding with the rule change surrounding playing numbers couldn’t have come at a better time. For a current NFL player to make the switch for the 2021 season, they would need to buy out the existing inventory of his previous number from the official distributor. Because the ink is essentially still dry on Peterson’s contract with Minnesota, there likely wasn’t much of any inventory that he needed to buy up in order for him to secure No. 7.