There was a time, in 2018, when Patrick Peterson was supposed to be part of the Cardinals' recruiting team for Kirk Cousins. Arizona was one of the finalists for the quarterback in free agency, fresh off Carson Palmer's retirement. The two ultimately connected in Arizona, where longtime Cardinals star Larry Fitzgerald was also set to pitch his team to the Washington signal-caller, but Cousins ended up choosing the Vikings. Three years later, Peterson and Cousins are teammates in Minnesota. On Wednesday, the QB joined Peterson and Bryant McFadden on "All Things Covered" to recount that free agency, his 2012 draft day and more.
"There were really four teams: The Jets, the Cardinals, the Broncos and the Vikings," Cousins said, of his dive into the market in 2018. "We felt that three of the four teams would be a double, if you were to (use) baseball terms, but we felt that one was a home run, and that was Minnesota."
Washington wasn't originally off the table, either, Cousins said, but he was always prepared to at least explore free agency following several years of playing under the franchise tag there. And after Washington acquired former 49ers and Chiefs starter Alex Smith, Cousins said he knew he wouldn't be returning to the NFC East. It turns out the QB never thought he'd stay long in Washington to begin with, too, recalling the day he was drafted three rounds after Robert Griffin III in 2012.
"Looking back, I wasn't ready to play, so it was a blessing in disguise to go to a team where I could sit and learn and observe and improve behind the scenes," he said. "(But) really, my goal when I got drafted there, was (to) play well enough in preseason games that, some day, maybe they could trade you, that other teams would be interested."
Griffin's unexpected injuries ultimately paved the way for Cousins to take over in Washington, of course, but the latter also drew motivation from being "viewed as the eighth guy" in a draft where eight QBs were taken in the first four rounds. To this day, he said, he knows exactly which QBs were picked ahead of him: Andrew Luck, Griffin, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, Brock Osweiler, Russell Wilson and Nick Foles.
And now? Cousins is determined to leave his legacy in Minnesota, where he said he'd be a "legend forever" if he's able to help bring the Vikings their first Lombardi Trophy. It helps, he said, that his team welcomed Peterson this offseason.
"I texted Zim right away," he said of coach Mike Zimmer. "What a huge pickup for us."