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Cordarrelle Patterson....The Reality.

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The Vikings took a risk in giving up four draft picks to move up to draft Cordarrelle Patterson. So now what do they do?

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings drafted Cordarrelle Patterson number 29th overall in the 2013 NFL draft, trading 4 draft picks to the New England Patriots to get him (52nd, 83rd, 102nd, and 229th). The team knew he was very raw coming into the draft, having only played one season of FBS college football with Tennessee after having been a very successful JUCO player.

In his second NFL game in the 2013 season, he returned a kick for 105 yards for his first NFL touchdown. He then returned an opening kick off for 109 yards and was named Special Teams Player of the Week, and was named as an alternate to the Pro Bowl. And over the last four games of that season, he was the leading receiver in the NFL.

Patterson's future seemed very bright and the Vikings' front office looked like they got a steal for this kid. Patterson's criticisms as far as being a successful NFL receiver were been many prior to the draft--very raw route runner, inexperienced, clumsy hands, ineffective as a blocker, but I didn't read a lot about him having a poor work ethic. Yet, this appears to be part of what is affecting Patterson's ability to move up the depth chart, now being listed behind Mike Wallace, Jarius Wright, and and Stefon Diggs on ESPN's Vikings' depth chart. He's listed at first for kick returner, and not at all for punt returner. The question I have, is what is Patterson going to do now that the Vikings have been experimenting with Diggs as kick returner?

After having what was largely considered a successful rookie season, most thought Patterson was really going to break out in his sophomore season with the Vikings. Instead, it seems he took a giant step back in the development of his game. At one point, he was even replaced by Charles Johnson, who at one time was a practice squad wideout. Patterson didn't appear to have any chemistry with rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater, which didn't really help his case. It left many Vikings fans wondering if Patterson's rookie season was just a fluke. There were others who were already labeling him a bust. There were a lot more questions than answers at the end of the 2014 regarding Patterson.

I had the opportunity to interview Cordarrelle Patterson in June in conjunction with Buffalo Wild Wings new Alive Events. BWW and Patterson surprised a recent high school graduate by showing up at his graduation party. I was granted a one-on-one interview with Patterson right after his appearance, and I asked him the types of questions I thought most Vikings fans wanted answered. I asked him about what he felt the difference between 2013 and 2014 was. His answer? He "took my [his] job too seriously". He "wasn't having fun".

I don't know, but it seems to me that not taking your job seriously enough and putting in the work your coaches tell you to put in would be a bigger factor. I know coach Mike Zimmer praised the work Patterson was doing in the offseason to be more productive and prepared this season, but I also know he did not meet with the mystery mentor that Zimmer tried to hook him up with. As someone who has struggled after some initial success, how do you not take every opportunity to be better at the game? It seriously confounds me.

Then came 2015 training camp. Zimmer, again, said he was pleased with the work Patterson did. Then preseason started, and Patterson did nothing to prove he deserved to be higher on the WR depth chart. Thankfully for him and the Vikings, a 107 yard kickoff return in the third preseason game against Dallas only solidified him higher on the KR depth chart.

Which brings me to my point. Patterson doesn't appear to be poised to be a good receiver. The weaknesses he had when he entered the NFL--bad route running, poor blocking and questionable work ethic--are still there. It was reported that he was pissed off about having to play in the final preseason game, and that doesn't exactly sound like a player who is in touch with reality or wants to improve at his position.

So what are the Vikings options? Not many.

Patterson has little trade value. He has done very little to make teams think he's worth trading for. My advice for the Vikings for this season is to let Patterson do what he's been successful at.....kick return. Forget about him being a reliable WR. Sure, you can throw him out there to screw with opposing teams' minds, but the only apparent value he brings to the Vikings right now is as an explosive KR. Let him prove his worth at that position to raise his trade value.

Then trade him for picks when Stefon Diggs is ready to replace him as KR and also a threat at WR.