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Minnesota Vikings CB Patrick Peterson says he’ll wear No. 7 in 2021 season



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 No. 1-49.

On his All Things Covered podcast, Peterson said he’ll be switching from the No. 21 he donned for the last 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 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 … 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 only permitted to wear Nos. 20-49.

Peterson said he was either going to wear 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 a Vikings jersey with Peterson’s name and former number, given he signed with the team 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.

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With ‘some plays that didn’t go our way,’ Tua Tagovailoa opens Miami Dolphins minicamp with five interceptions and film to study



DAVIE, Fla. — Tua Tagovailoa brushed off a very rough Day 1 of Miami Dolphins minicamp — one that included five interceptions — as a product of emphasizing more aggression in the passing game.

It was the closest thing to real football for the Dolphins, who wore helmets for the first time this offseason, and offered small glimpses of what a new offense would look like for Miami. But the lasting memory was the defense’s dominance against the quarterbacks; in addition to Tagovailoa’s five, backup Jacoby Brissett threw two interceptions in fewer reps.

“Obviously, you want to be smart, but if there’s a time to make mistakes, now is the time to make mistakes,” Tagovailoa said. “We’re just seeing what we can fit into holes, what we can throw into coverages, come into the film room and then learn from it.”

Much of practice consisted of a torrential downpour, and the Dolphins never left the outside field. It was clear coach Brian Flores wanted them to play through the adverse circumstances.

“Today the emphasis for us, quarterbacks, we wanted to be aggressive today within the pass game. We wanted to see if we could fit throws in, see what throws we could make under these conditions. We wanted to push the ball vertical down the field,” Tagovailoa said. “There were some plays that didn’t go our way, but those are plays we can take away from in the film room.”

The biggest criticism for Tagovailoa as a rookie was his hesitancy to throw deep and throw to open receivers. It’s clear that is going to be a priority in the new Dolphins offense, and Tagovailoa has to perform better than he did in Tuesday’s practice.

After practice, Tagovailoa accepted responsibility for the rough day but overall viewed it as a learning experience as he tries to achieve a specific aggressive goal rather than an indictment of where his game is right now.

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Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers jokes about his ‘quiet offseason’ in interview for July 6 golf match



Through everything that has happened surrounding Aaron Rodgers this offseason, one thing is clear: He still understands sarcasm.

The reigning MVP, who has dominated the NFL headlines this spring because of his dissatisfaction with the Green Bay Packers, showed his sense of humor Tuesday during a promotional video in advance of the July 6 golf match featuring Rodgers and PGA Tour star Bryson DeChambeau against Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson.

TNT’s Brian Anderson, who hosted the video conference, set up Rodgers with this: “You’ve really kept a low profile this offseason, I’ve hardly seen your name at all and you haven’t hosted any TV shows or been involved in any kind of controversy or anything. It’s been a nice, peaceful offseason for you, it sounds like.”

Rodgers’ reply was both deadpan and dripping with irony.

“It’s been one of those quiet offseasons you dream about, where you can kind of just go through your process on your own, quietly,” Rodgers said. “And that’s all you can ask for as an older player in the league and someone who’s been around for a long time and just enjoys that time to yourself, just relax, to not be bothered, to not have any obligations or anything going on.

“I think that’s what this offseason has been about. It’s been about really enjoying my time and spending it where I want to spend it, not feeling like I have to go anywhere but still be an NFL player at the same time. It’s been great.”

Rodgers skipped his only actual obligation, the Packers’ mandatory minicamp last week, and is subject to fines of $93,085. He also missed the entire offseason program, thereby forfeiting his $500,000 workout bonus.

The Packers have publicly maintained their desire to have Rodgers back for “2021 and beyond,” as team president Mark Murphy put it earlier this offseason, but it’s unclear whether Rodgers will report for training camp next month or will hold out and try to force a trade. Since the news of Rodgers’ unhappiness with the Packers broke on the afternoon of this year’s draft, the Packers have insisted they will not trade him.

Earlier this month, Murphy wrote that the situation has divided the Packers’ fan base and added that the less said publicly about the situation, the better. However, Murphy didn’t heed his own advice last week when, during a speaking engagement, he referred to Rodgers as “a complicated fella,” saying he was echoing how former Packers general manager Ted Thompson once described him.

It’s unclear whether the T-shirt Rodgers wore for Tuesday’s videoconference, which read “I’m offended,” was in response to Murphy’s comment.

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Carolina Panthers WR Robby Anderson says he sees new ‘glow’ in QB Sam Darnold



CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson sees something in quarterback Sam Darnold that he didn’t in their two years together with the New York Jets.

“When I walked in the building I could see a new energy out of him, like a glow, charisma that I didn’t really see in New York,” said Anderson, who played with Darnold in 2018-19. “I can definitely see the difference in him so far.”

Anderson was the only Carolina player not seen by media for any of the voluntary portions of on-the-field offseason workouts.

So Tuesday, the first of a three-day mandatory camp, was the first time Anderson had a chance to work with Darnold since the Jets’ 2019 finale against Buffalo when they connected three times for 18 yards.

“You know when a person can see like a glow, energy, their aura?” Anderson said. “I could kind of see that when I walked in the building.”

Anderson was Darnold’s favorite target with the Jets. He had 102 catches for 1,431 yards and 11 touchdowns during their time together.

Stopping short of making a prediction, Anderson expects better things for them in Joe Brady’s system at Carolina, where in 2020 Anderson had a career-best 95 catches for 1,096 yards and three touchdowns.

“The New York system was a little more complex, had a lot of nuances that was more difficult for everybody, not just him, not just me,” Anderson said. “This system is a little more graspable.”

New Carolina edge rusher Haason Reddick hasn’t played with Darnold before, but he likes what he has seen.

“Sam’s completing passes,” said Reddick, an offseason free-agent signing from Arizona. “It looks like he’s playing intelligent football.”

Coach Matt Rhule just wants Darnold, who struggled with consistency with the Jets, completing only 59.8% of his passes and going 13-25 as the starter, to continue playing “good” football in practice.

“I don’t want him to have great days right now … just steady progress to make good days roll into great days,” he said of the quarterback Carolina traded for before the draft.

Anderson, who should help Darnold’s growth because of their past chemistry, didn’t go into detail on why he stayed in South Florida throughout the voluntary portions of OTAs.

“I’m to the point of my career where I know how to get myself ready,” he said. “So it wasn’t nothing against the team or nothing like that. I feel I capitalized on this time. The work I was putting in with my trainer, I was on a good program.

“I didn’t want to step away from that.”

Rhule said it was great to have Anderson back even though Anderson wasn’t in all the team drills.

“Robby is a guy that brings energy to the practice field,” he said. “He’s in great shape. You can tell he’s been working hard. We had a goal of like three to four reps in a team drills. I’m not going to over-rep anybody.”

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