After spending much of the season getting limited snaps on offense, rookie wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has finally started getting an opportunity, and he's taking advantage of it.
Patterson started the season receiving single-digit snaps in each game on offense, with coach Leslie Frazier assuring everyone that they were going to find ways to get him on the field. Over the past couple of weeks, thanks in part to Patterson's progress as a receiver and in part to some other personnel issues (Greg Jennings' injury and Jerome Simpson's off-field issues), he is finally getting an opportunity to flash some of the potential the Vikings saw when they traded back into the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft to select him.
After getting just 28 targets on offense in the first nine games of the 2013 season, Patterson has been targeted 20 times in the past two games. He was targeted nine times in the Vikings' loss to the Seattle Seahawks and eleven times in the tie against the Green Bay Packers, both team highs. He has had eleven receptions for 82 yards in those two games, and while his yards per catch might not be terribly high, it shows that the team is finding a way to get the ball into his hands.
With the Vikings sitting at 2-8-1 and well out of playoff contention for this year, it would serve the Vikings well to continue giving Patterson every opportunity to develop into their top wide receiver. Jerome Simpson isn't going to be back, in all likelihood, and it wouldn't be surprising to see the team start phasing him out a bit. They should, at least.
Patterson has all the physical skills to be a top-flight wide receiver in the National Football League, and though it's taken a bit longer than most of us would like in order for him to get an extended look, it appears that he's ready to take full advantage of it. His development will be one of the more interesting story lines for us to follow for the remainder of the 2013 season.