If one were to make a list of the most disappointing Minnesota Vikings' player in 2014. . .non-Adrian Peterson category, naturally. . .the name of wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson would probably be on the top of the list, and certainly in the top two (yeah, Matt Kalil, we're looking at you here). After finishing the 2013 season with a flourish despite uncertainty at the quarterback position, Patterson was expected to make a huge jump in 2014. However, he was unable to do that, as his production both as a receiver and on special teams went way down.
Now, with the 2015 NFL Draft approaching and the wide receiver position at or near the top of the list of many pundits' thoughts on what the Vikings should focus on, General Manager Rick Spielman is starting to talk Patterson up a little bit.
"There's no question he is, again there's another young guy that came out early and made a splash his rookie year because of his unique speed and his unique athletic traits," Spielman said. "Sometimes you have to go through some growing pains where you have to realize it's more than just that. It's more than just relying on your athletic skill set and what it takes to be a great receiver in this league."
"There's no question about the physical ability there. I think Cordarrelle has really grown up a lot," Spielman said. "I know what he has done this offseason dedicating himself to being the best receiver he can be, and how serious he is taking that, we're very excited about the future with Cordarrelle."
The Vikings' current group of wide receivers is an interesting mix, despite the departure of Greg Jennings a few weeks back. The team acquired Mike Wallace from the Miami Dolphins and, while he doesn't have Jennings' route-running ability, he does possess the ability to take the top off of a defense the way Norv Turner would like. The Vikings are obviously high on Charles Johnson, who made quite an impression after the Vikings stole him off of the Cleveland Browns' practice squad last season. Jarius Wright has obviously shown plenty of flashes in his time with the Vikings, and with this being a contract year for him, could be in for an even bigger year this season.
If the team is confident that Cordarrelle Patterson can get back to more of what we saw towards the end of 2013 and less of what we saw in 2014, maybe the team can wait to hold off on addressing the wide receiver position in what appears to be a very deep year at the position.