With the amount of injured Vikings linebackers during OTAs and minicamp, Brian Peters benefited with an increased amount of reps on defense last month.
The Northwestern product converted from safety to linebacker after college and played the last two seasons in the Canadian Football League with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He signed with the Vikings during the offseason, hoping to land a spot on the 53-man roster as a special teams player and a depth piece at linebacker.
“Brian is doing a nice job with all the coverage aspects of where he’s supposed to be, you’d expect that from a converted safety,” Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said. “The question is, when he gets the pads on how will he be in that area, so again, the physicality. But in shorts he’s doing a good job, he knows where to be, he can run, he’s pretty smart.”
Peters led the Roughriders last season with 78 tackles and also had three sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a defensive touchdown. Anthony Barr, Gerald Hodges and Casey Matthews missed either some or all of the OTAs and minicamp sessions in June, which allowed Peters the opportunity to get more comfortable in Zimmer’s scheme. Peters is listed at 6-4 and 235 pounds, which makes him one the lightest linebackers on the roster outside of Brandon Watts and Eric Kendricks, but he brings those coverage skills to the position that are vital in today’s NFL.
“I think safeties feel a little more comfortable in there when they are matched up with tight ends and running backs opposed to a receiver,” defensive coordinator George Edwards said. “I think he’s comfortable with the match ups and like I said, the biggest thing is transferring it to running back, getting his reads and those kinds of things.”