The Minnesota Vikings who are 4-10-1 haven’t had the best season this year. But there has been a bright spot that has emerged and that is in the form of kickoff returner Cordarrelle Patterson.
Patterson has been paying dividends for Minnesota who traded four picks to draft him 29th overall this year. He has accumulated 1,342 kickoff return yards this season and with one game left Sunday at the Metrodome, Patterson has a chance to pass George “Buster” Rhymes for the most return yards in a season in Vikings history.
Rhymes was also a rookie when he set the record in 1985. Drafted in the fourth round out of Oklahoma, Rhymes had 53 returns for 1,345 yards, a 25.4-yard average. Also a receiver, like Patterson, Rhymes only caught eight passes in his career, which ended after five games with the team in 1986.
It also didn’t take long for Minnesota’s opponents to take notice of Patterson either. Teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals have kicked away from him in the past two weeks. But the Vikings have still managed to get good field position.
And what does Patterson think about his potentially record breaking season?
“I heard about it, I’m not worried about that. If I worry about that this week, they probably won’t even kick me the ball. It’ll make me mad.”
Patterson, 22, has already become the first Vikings rookie to score touchdowns in each of the returning, receiving and rushing category – and he’s done each at least twice. His 109-yard return for a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers on October 27th also tied a NFL record that cannot be surpassed with current field dimensions.
But don’t tell Patterson that.
“[The 109-yard return] is long and gone,” Patterson said. “I hope to get a 110-yard return.”
Since he would have to join Canadian Football League to do that, Patterson’s response was with the carried same confidence he uses to return kicks that are just inches away from touchbacks.
“I’ll have to do that,” Patterson said.