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Patterson Key in Win


The Minnesota Vikings had themselves quite the nail biter this past Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They were tested and pushed to the absolute limit but due to a fantastic effort play by rising star rookie Anthony Barr, the Vikings were able to enjoy the flight home back to the Twin Cities. However, Anthony Barr’s play wasn’t the only big takeaway this weekend. The Vikings offense finally displayed some resurgence in a passing game that has been virtually lackluster since Teddy Bridgewater’s first career start against Atlanta. The involvement of Cordarrelle Patterson into the offense the past two games have been a big reason to some of the big plays that the passing game has been having. Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner’s ability to line him up anywhere in the formation is one of the best ways to help keep the defense honest and it also helps creating a mismatch not only with Patterson but can potentially even change the way the defense will attack the formation.  Now, we’ll take a look at the ways the Vikings have been trying to use Patterson.

1. In the slot

On this particular first down snap, the Vikings broke their mold of showing a run formation and showed a “passing” formation with trips to the left, Teddy in the gun with Asiata flanking his right side and Tight End Chase Ford split out but tight to the formation.

 On the Trips side, the Vikings threw a wrinkle into their regular alignment as Wright, who is normally does his work from the slot, is outside the numbers. Inside of him is Greg Jennings and closest to the front 5 is Patterson lined up in the slot. This creates two big mismatches. The first one being that Greg Jennings will be covered by either the nickel or a flexed out outside linebacker, both that play into Jennings favor due to his ability to run a crisp and clean route. The second mismatch is actually a nightmare and that is having a linebacker lined up with Patterson in the slot. As you can see the concept is a quick release, high completion percentage throw out of the trips formation with Wright running a vertical while Jennings and Patterson are running quick curls. The backside of the formation shows a corner by Ford and the safety blanket is Asiata on the leak out to the flat. Due to the matchup or lack thereof, Patterson is Teddy’s first read against the backer. At the snap Bridgewater fires a rocket to CP and with how fluid he is as a runner, he is able to make the backer miss and take it for solid 15 yard gain on first down.

2.Split out wide

On a Critical third down late in the game, The Vikings came out in an “ACE gun” formation. Ace formation means that it is a two receiver set to each side of the formation.

 The alignment of Patterson is outside the numbers facing press coverage. The slot receivers for the play is former D2 standout Adam Thielen to the left with Patterson and Ford is again split tight paired with Greg Jennings. At the snap, Thielen runs a vertical up the seam which attracts the attention of the safety due to the Cover 2 shell and Patterson runs a 15 yard comeback on the sidelines. The Backside of the formation has the tight end Ford running a 10 yard curl and sit while Jennings will complete the concept with a 15 yard dig. With Thielen grabbing the attention of the safety, that leaves Patterson with man coverage. The biggest improvement that Patterson has made in his development as a receiver is catching the balls with his hands and trusting his athletic ability.

As you can see, Patterson certainly has the height advantage Verner. Teddy recognizes the mismatch and fires out to the sideline putting great placement on the ball, making sure that the only person who could catch it was Patterson. Patterson did a great job of leaping and snatching the ball out of the sky and gets his feet in bounds before being forced out. The pure athleticism that Patterson possesses helps him create big plays at a moment’s notice.

3. Dual Threat

The biggest reason that Cordarrelle Patterson is so dangerous as an offensive weapon for the Vikings is his ability to kill you in many forms. Last season as a rookie, we saw Patterson as more of a OW (Offensive Weapon) than a WR as he had more rushing attempts and big plays carrying the football as a “running back” or as a returner. When you fast forward to 2014, Patterson has evolved into more of a receiving threat. He refined his route running and improved his hands, the two biggest knocks that he had coming out of his only major season of college football. However, he is still extremely lethal as a rushing threat. (Just ask the Rams).

This is a prime example of how getting Patterson involved early can benefit the Vikings offense. On this first down snap early in the first quarter, the Vikings come up with Ace formation, having Bridgewater under center and McKinnon lined up in the backfield. Patterson is split out wide left, outside the numbers and is put into motion across the formation. At the snap, Bridgewater hands the ball to a still motioning Patterson. At first glance, Patterson sees a lane to up and attack up field. However, it is quickly shut down by the outside linebacker but due to Patterson superior athleticism, he was able to make a quick cut and bounce it to the edge and take it for a quality 10 yards.

With the Vikings finally getting some output from their running game in their emerging rookie McKinnon and a quarterback who has proven that if you give him time he can attack defenses methodically in rookie Teddy Bridgewater, having Patterson as the X factor for that offense and his ability to be moved anywhere in the formation will make defenses stay “frosty” when lining up to play the Vikings.

The Vikings will finally be back in the Twin Cities after having two consecutive road games. The Vikings hope to build the winning streak to two heading into the bye week. As rumored earlier this week, the Redskins have announced that RG3 will be the starter for Sunday’s matchup.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Vikings Review, as we will take a look at the stellar play of Anthony Barr.






Author Profile

Joshua Zimmer
Josh is the Big Ten analyst for NGSC Sports. With his extensive knowledge of the game, he will be keeping an eye on some of the conference's top NFL Draft prospects while also serving as the Gophers analyst. He also covers the NHL.

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