By 3 May, which is the Tuesday after Draft weekend, NFL teams have to decide whether or not they want to pick up the fifth-year options on players that were selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. If you'll recall, the Vikings had three picks in the first round that year. They took defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd at #23 overall, cornerback Xavier Rhodes at #25 overall (courtesy of the pick acquired from the Seattle Seahawks in the Percy Harvin trade), and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson at #29 after a trade up with the New England Patriots.
According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, while it seems to be a no-brainer that the Vikings will pick up the options for both Floyd and Rhodes, Patterson will not be having his fifth-year option picked up by the team.
Patterson has been a forgotten man in the Minnesota offense since the first game of the 2014 season, where he had a huge game against the St. Louis Rams. He's still the best kickoff returner in the National Football League, but apparently the Vikings didn't feel that merited the number the fifth-year option would entail.
As Patterson, Rhodes, and Floyd were all selected outside of the top ten of their draft class, their fifth-year tender figure amounts to the average salary of the third through twenty-fifth highest-paid players at their position. (Players selected in the top ten get the same figure as the "transition player" tender for their position.) According to Tomasson, that means that Rhodes has the highest price tag of the three at $8.026 million, while Floyd's is the lowest at $6.757 million. Patterson's figure is just barely less than Rhodes' at $7.915 million.
It may be far too early to jump to this conclusion, but this may signal a lack of faith on the part of the Vikings that the light bulb is suddenly going to come on for Patterson after a rough couple of seasons. Patterson is an elite kick returner, but if he can't get on the field in Norv Turner's offense, a nearly $8 million kick returner is an option that no NFL team can afford.
Picking up a player's fifth-year option does not guarantee them any money. . .the only way the money becomes guaranteed is because of injury, where a player is hurt so severely they are unable to play their fifth-year option season. It's simply a mechanism for the team to have an extra measure of control over a player's contract before allowing them to hit free agency.
What do you think about the Vikings potentially not picking up Cordarrelle Patterson's option?