NGSC Sports

The Expectations For Cordarrelle Patterson

Many sports writers claim that the football game of today is a “quarterback’s league.”  The quarterbacks are the most protected, most highly paid players in the league; and because of recent rule changes – they are  rewriting the record books.  The new saying is you need a quarterback in this league, which is true – but what about the weapons around the quarterback?  One can easily say that the NFL game of today not only benefits the quarterback but also the wide receiver.  Corners and safeties in the league can barely put their hands on a wide-out and they also have to be wary of lighting up a wideout due to the “hitting a defenseless receiver” penalty which not only brings flags, but also fines.  Understanding that a quarterback can help make an average receiver look better, it isn’t too far fetched to believe the same in reverse.

The Minnesota Vikings are heading into the 2014 season expecting Cordarrelle Patterson to be that guy.  Patterson is coming into his second year in the NFL and there is no doubt that the Vikings drafted him last year with the intention of him becoming their number one wideout for years to come.  Patterson played his college football for the University of Tennessee where he excelled not only as a receiver, but also as a special teams player.  Patterson broke the single season all purpose yards record at Tennessee by accumulating 1,858 total yards due to receiving, rushing, kick and punt return yardage.  The Vikings at the time had a player who did all of that in Percy Harvin. Harvin though was unhappy being in Minnesota and a trade eventually moved him to Seattle.  A void needed to be filled for a Vikings team who was already thin at the wide-receiver position.  They made a move in the 2013 draft trading picks with the New England Patriots and selecting Cordarrelle Patterson 29th overall.

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When drawing a quick comparison of Patterson to Harvin it looks something like this:

Patterson: 6’2″ 220 pounds, and a 4.42 forty time

Harvin: 5’11″ 184 pounds, and a 4.41 forty time

So the Vikings forfeited .01 seconds of a forty yard dash time, for a younger and bigger wideout in Cordarrelle Patterson, who brings the same skill set as Percy Harvin.

In his rookie season it seemed as if the Vikings either didn’t know what to do with Patterson or the quarterback play was so inconsistent it didn’t really matter.  Patterson was seen on special teams every week and returned two kicks for a touchdown (one of them being a 109 yard touchdown return which is an NFL record).  It wasn’t until mid-season when the Vikings started to utilize his size and versatility into the offense.  His receiving numbers by season’s end were nothing outstanding (45 receptions for 469 yards and 4 touchdowns) especially considering the offense was still centered around the running game (and that trend was not going to stop considering their previously mentioned inconsistency at the quarterback position. Also add in his 12 rushing attempts for over 150 yards and 3 touchdowns and it’s easy to see, this is the kind of player you need to get the ball into the hands of.

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The Vikings are preparing for the 2014 season with a new head coach, Mike Zimmer and a new quarterback, rookie Teddy Bridgewater.  The offense at a glance doesn’t look to shabby considering they still have Adrian Peterson in the backfield, a veteran wideout in Greg Jennings, above average skilled tight end in Kyle Rudolf, third year wideout out of Arkansas, Jarius Wright and of course Patterson.  Currently Patterson is slated as the number two wide receiver behind Greg Jennings, but expect that to change by the start of pre-season.

Patterson is a unique talent that is just as dangerous on a screen pass as he is a deep route.  Patterson is not only a key to the Vikings offense moving forward but also he will play an integral part in the development of Teddy Bridgewater.  Bridgewater, like other quarterbacks in his class came in with a lot of questions when entering the NFL.  Where Bridgewater separated himself from others is in standardized completion percentage. Standardized completion percentage takes one’s regular completion percentage and quantifies it along with distance and difficulty of passes made.  Bridgewater had one of the highest ratings of the last three years.  This should bode well for Patterson who has the ability and size to do just about everything.  If Patterson and Bridgewater can get on the same page with hand-signals and timing they can forge to become one of the deadliest connections in the league.

Of course this is all assuming things work out as planned for the Vikings and if the NFL has proved anything over the years is that you can’t plan on anything to be certain.  The potential is there for Patterson to come into his own this season.  As it currently stands, YahooSports has Patterson ranked as the 19th overall wide receiver in fantasy football drafts (coincidentally, Percy Harvin is right after him at number 20).  What this should tell folks is that experts are expecting the Vikings to still base the offense off the running game and not force Bridgewater into situations where he has to win games.  There will be times though that even a running game that’s equipped with the likes of Adrian Peterson will fall behind 10 or 14 points late in a game and they will have to throw.

1Cordarrelle.Patterson.Detroit.Lions.v.Minnesota.3vBhTj78XtmlPredicting Patterson’s final numbers are difficult because we’ve seen receivers like Josh Gordon and Justin Blackmon look at times unstoppable with nothing spectacular at the quarterback position so imagine what Patterson can accomplish as long as Bridgewater is above average.  A modest expectation from Patterson is somewhere in the ballpark of 1,250 yards and 9 touchdowns receiving and a couple of special teams TDs.

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

 

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