Patrick Peterson speaks fluent Football. Ask the Vikings cornerback about a specific play in a game and he will dissect it like a mathematician explaining the Pythagorean theorem.
His vast football IQ stems from playing 12 NFL seasons and, perhaps more so, from exhaustive preparation over the years that includes studying opponent tendencies, route concepts and details that are never too minor to be deemed unimportant.
He's a film junkie. The pigskin version of Siskel and Ebert.
"The good ones are very detailed," Peterson said. "The guys who don't last, that's why it's not detailed to them."
Watching film — football's old-school term for video — is a way of life in the business. The line that separates winning and losing in the NFL is thinner than sewing thread, so coaches and players spend hours upon hours analyzing video.
They get very specific in what they watch.
When the Vikings traded for tight end T.J. Hockenson at the start of this month, Kirk Cousins asked the team's video department to send him clips of Hockenson's career touchdown catches, all his third-down conversions and even highlights from his time at Iowa.
"I want to see him at his absolute best," Cousins said.
Sometimes, players want to watch the greats at their position to glean tips.
"You can ask the video guys, 'Hey, I want all of Jerry Rice's catches,' and boom, they will have it on your iPad," receiver Adam Thielen said.
Sometimes, they want to watch video of themselves.
"I can say, 'Hey, I need a practice from Week 12 in 2019,' and they will be able to get it for me," right tackle Brian O'Neill said.
Improved technology has changed the entire process. Peterson used a portable DVD player his first few seasons in the league that required him to fast-forward and rewind to find specific plays.
Now every Vikings coach and player receives team-issued iPads loaded with software that makes the process infinitely faster. Plays are numbered and can be accessed instantly.
Time is never wasted. For road games, coaches and players have the game downloaded on their iPads by the time they board the plane to fly home.
"We're able to get on the plane and watch it together and talk about it," linebacker Jordan Hicks said.
Peterson estimates he spends seven to 10 hours each week watching video alone, on top of his daily study at the facility with teammates. He also opens his home to all the defensive backs every Wednesday night for a group film session.
"It's really unbelievable the way you can search things and pull inventory of video either on a player or a team," Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell said. "It allows us to work at a really efficient level."
O'Connell has developed his own process for watching film. He starts the week with a wide focus when studying the opponent, then gradually narrows his lens as the week unfolds and he contemplates matchups and the game plan.
"You have to plan for everything," he said.
That level of planning requires binge-watching video at night. Sounds tedious, but football players love it.
"I don't have a family," O'Neill said. "I go home at five o'clock. It's just me and my girlfriend. I don't have much going on. This is what I like to do. It doesn't really feel like work."
Peterson's plan involves knowing everything possible about the receivers he will face. He requests video of their explosive plays, reps against press coverage and every spot they have lined up in the formation.
Peterson offered an example of how that process takes shape:
"He's 11 times at 'Z' with a plus-3 split," he said. "Then I'm looking at the routes that he's running out of those 11 times from that plus-3 split. Then I say, all right, 70 percent of the time, he's running a hitch. So I'm going to play for a hitch because the percentages are telling me that he's running a hitch."
That's one receiver from one alignment. Now multiply that many times over.
In other words, Peterson's game-sealing interception in overtime Sunday didn't happen by chance.