The Minnesota Vikings traded four of their draft picks in the 2013 NFL Draft to obtain wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. Clearly, the team is very high on the versatile wideout, and after trading Percy Harvin to Seattle (that’s working out well), Minnesota seems likely to use their rookie in a variety of different ways. They like the kid.
However, from a fantasy perspective, I do not.
We continue our Fantasy Phobia series with Patterson, a dynamic talent out of Tennessee. The third wide receiver selected in this April’s draft has the size (6’2″, 220 lbs) and speed (4.42) to prevent headaches for opposing defenders. He is a guy with deep ball threat, but also has versatility in his game to provide some danger in the running and return game. However, as talented as the kid is, he is still pretty raw. His routes aren’t advanced enough to consistently get open and his hands could use some work. Considering how deep the wide receiver position is in fantasy land this year, I will not be targeting Patterson in many of my leagues this season. Why, you ask? Well, let’s see. As of right now in Vikings’ camp, Patterson has not been a starting wide receiver alongside Greg Jennings. Instead, Jerome Simpson and Jarius Wright have been manning that role, while Patterson has been practicing as the team’s leading return man. I’m not sure if the Vikings are sold on Patterson as a complementary number two wide receiver, at least not right away. He’s still a bit raw, and perhaps he has some work to do before earning that spot in the offense. Also, even if Patterson does line up opposite Jennings, I just don’t trust quarterback Christian Ponder enough to get him the ball. Like I said, Patterson is a guy who can beat defenders deep, but Ponder is a horrific deep ball passer. In the team’s final five games of the 2012 season, Ponder only threw the ball 20-yards or more 12 times. I’m not sold that Ponder will be good for any of these Minnesota wide receivers.
There is no doubt that Patterson has boatloads of talent, as well as upside. However, with a machine in the backfield in Adrian Peterson, as well as an offensive playbook consisting of limited passing, perhaps the Vikings will develop their rookie wide receiver slowly. I don’t think Patterson will fill the void that Harvin created in his absence, and I’m staying away from him in fantasy drafts if I can help it.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.