With the week nearly over and done with, we still need to answer this week's question from our good friend Marshall Faulk. Here is what he's asking us this week:
Being GMC Professional Grade means being bold and decisive. At the quarter mark of the season, it’s time to put a stake in the ground. What bold decision would you like to see from your team?
Well, I'm going to go way out on a limb and suggest a move that shouldn't be considered a bold one, but given the way that things have trended over the past few weeks, apparently it would be.
In the first week of the 2014 NFL season against the St. Louis Rams, the Minnesota Vikings were led in rushing yardage by second-year wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. He carried the ball three times for 102 yards, including an incredible 67-yard touchdown run that really helped the Vikings pull away for the victory. In the four games since then, Patterson has carried the ball as a runner. . .once.
Are people keying on Patterson and expecting him to get the ball? They certainly are. . .all you have to do is watch the first drive from the Vikings' Week 2 matchup against the New England Patriots. The Patriots were clearly keying on Patterson, which allowed things to open up for other players en route to the Vikings' lone touchdown of that game. Patterson did not receive an actual carry in that game, nor did he get one in Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons or in Week 5 against the Green Bay Packers. His only carry since the first game went for a seven-yard loss against the New Orleans Saints in Week 3.
Through the first five games of the season, Patterson has just 19 offensive touches (15 receptions, four rushes), and has only received two touches in each of the last two games. This is thoroughly unacceptable. Patterson is one of the most dynamic open-field players in the National Football League, and in an offense that has been having as many issues as the Vikings have had in some of their games this year, the team not finding ways to get him as many touches as they possibly can is nothing short of mind-boggling.
Yes, the team has been having issues at the quarterback position. . .these are the Minnesota Vikings we're talking about, after all. . .but Patterson is one of those players that you can get involved in so many different ways. He should probably be getting at least five carries a game in addition to the receptions he gets. As it stands now, other teams don't have to account for Patterson as much as they should have to. The Vikings can't afford to let a weapon like Cordarrelle Patterson continue to go to waste the way they have been.
So, if I were to make a "bold" move for the Minnesota Vikings. . .and, again, this shouldn't even be remotely considered "bold". . .I would try to mandate a way for Cordarrelle Patterson to get seven or eight touches in every game from here on out. Whether it's lining up in the backfield, coming on an end around or jet sweep, or quick screens of some sort, the Vikings can not afford to keep the ball out of his hands the way they have been the past few weeks.