Over the past two seasons, there hasn’t been a more criticized player on the Viking’s roster than fourth-year wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. After finishing his rookie season in 2013 with 45 receptions and 9 total touchdowns in 6 games started, the team and fan base alike had sky-high expectations for the following season and career going forward for the man they call “Flash”. Unfortunately he hasn’t lived up to those expectations and has been in Head Coach Mike Zimmer’s dog house ever since.
Many have speculated as to why Patterson has struggled to get snaps at wide receiver, knowing the supreme athleticism he brings isn’t being utilized. Most will point to his inability to run the right routes and overall lack of focus as the underlying reasons. Whatever the case may be the Vikings are making it clear to Patterson this is his year to prove his worth at wide receiver after declining his fifth year option during the offseason. To the delight of Vikings fans, Patterson seems to be approaching this season accordingly.
“I just approach this whole year different than I’ve been doing,” Patterson said. “I’m a lot more focused, just trying to work on my craft—route running, getting in and out of breaks, just trying to get the timing good with Teddy.”
The reports coming from OTAs and minicamp have been positive to say the least for Patterson. Even a man that isn’t known to dole out praise, Head Coach Mike Zimmer, is impressed with Patterson on the strides he has made during the offseason.
“He’s not making mental errors—very very few mental errors,” Coach Zimmer said. “He’s running the routes at the proper depth, he’s lining up in the proper place. I don’t know that it’s ever been an issue with athletic ability with him, but maybe sometimes the focus.
With the start of training camp quickly approaching, the coaches will get a better understanding of how much Patterson has improved when the pads are on and the grind towards the start of the season really gets underway.
If Patterson can find a way to reestablish himself into the player that Vikings fans saw in his rookie season, the “Flash” could provide the X-factor for Norv Turner’s offense.
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