After the team declined his fifth-year option, will Cordarrelle Patterson be able to prove he is worthy of a new contract after this season?
After taking college football by storm in his rookie season with the Minnesota Vikings, Cordarrelle Patterson has not panned out like the Vikings would have thought. When the Vikings traded picks away to move up and get Patterson, they thought he could be their wide receiver of the future. Now looking back, I am not sure that Rick Spielman would have made that deal if he had a do-over(since that pick we traded turned into Jamie Collins of the Patriots).
Patterson remains a huge threat on special teams, as he is the best kick returner in the NFL and has been for a few years. That is not the reason he was drafted, though. In his rookie season, not under Mike Zimmer and Norv Turner, Patterson looked like the future. Patterson put together 627 yards from scrimmage and 7 touchdowns in his first year. He also averaged his highest average returns on kickoffs, with 32.4.
In the offensive scheme ran under Bill Musgrave, Patterson looked to be on his way to being a key piece of this team for the future. It seemed as if Musgrave used Patterson in the right ways, and let him showcase his personal strengths. Patterson rushed 12 times that year as a change of pace from Adrian Peterson and averaged 13.2 yards per carry.
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Since the Zimmer regime has come to power, and Norv Turner has put his scheme in place, Patterson has not been utilized. It has been said that Patterson was not putting in the work to learn the playbook, and his routes to excel. In college, players can get by on their athletic ability. In the NFL it is a different story, as every player on the field in an elite athlete.
This offseason, story after story has come out about Patterson working hard on his route running. He is said to be in a different mindset this season. Maybe the team not picking up his fifth-year option put a little fire under him.
With a first round pick, Laquon Treadwell, sixth round pick, Moritz Boehringer, Charles Johnson coming back from injury, and the rise of Stefon Diggs, will Patterson even have the opportunity to prove to the club that he deserves another contract? With the new kickoff rules, will Patterson even have his normal impact on special teams?
It is hard to see Turner adding a bunch of plays designed for Patterson after almost exiling him out the last couple years. Knowing that Treadwell will have the best chance to crack the starting lineup alongside Stefon Diggs and Jarius Wright, and 2014 phenom Charles Johnson coming back from being injured all last season, where do we fit the former first round, uber talented Patterson?
Before the draft, the consensus was that this team’s biggest hole was at wide receiver. Now coming out of organized team activities, it seems like a log jam and there is even the possibility that Patterson could be cut. Based on his contributions to the kickoff returns, Patterson will have a spot on the final 53. Hopefully, Patterson has really put in the extra work and the team can utilize his skills this season.