In a revelation that has caused people to check Weather Underground to see exactly what the temperature in Hell is doing, that player is wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
"This is the best I’ve ever seen him since he’s been here," Zimmer exclaimed. "He’s running good routes, he’s catching the ball good, he’s really been motivated to do well this spring."
Aware of the high bar he might be setting, it didn’t take Coach Zimmer long to temper those expectations a bit saying, "I’ve been very impressed with him and what he’s done this spring...Now, he’s got to carry that over to training camp and all that stuff. But if it continues to go on he’s going to help us."
Patterson, to put it mildly, has fallen out of favor with Zimmer and Norv Turner during their tenure in Minnesota. After looking like he was going to be a breakout player after a big finish to his rookie season, he largely disappeared in his second season, and last season caught just two passes during the regular season. He’s remained one of the NFL’s best kick returners, but hasn’t even done enough offensively to be classed as an afterthought.
Shortly after this year’s NFL Draft, the Vikings had to make a decision about whether or not to pick up Patterson’s fifth-year option on his rookie deal, and they decided not to do so. Perhaps that served as a bit of a wake-up call for Patterson. I’m not sure how exactly he reacted to it, as it appears he’s blocked just about every media person connected with the Vikings on social media, but I’m going to assume it might be serving as motivation for him.
If Patterson is getting into the groove a little bit, it’s going to make things even more interesting at the wide receiver position. First round pick Laquon Treadwell is going to be given every opportunity to make an impact, and Stefon Diggs is going to see a majority of snaps in the Vikings’ offense this season. Patterson is going to be battling Charles Johnson, Jarius Wright, and Adam Thielen for snaps at the wide receiver position. If it was based on athletic ability alone, Patterson would be a lock. . .but, as we’ve seen, it’s not.
We know that Patterson is going to make an impact on special teams in 2016. Is he going to finally be able to be a player in the Minnesota offense? That remains to be seen.