Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson started his rookie season slowly, seeing limited action offensively and totaling just 21 receptions for 196 yards and one touchdown over the first 10 games of the season. He did have two kickoff return touchdowns over that span, but otherwise any fantasy football owner that had even a little faith he’d be an immediate contributor in 2013 was left disappointed.
But starting with Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers, when he had a season-high eight receptions (for 54 yards), Patterson had 24 catches for 273 yards, 156 rushing yards and six total touchdowns (three receiving, three rushing) over the final six games of the season as he took on an expanded role in the Vikings’ offense. His ownership percentage in fantasy leagues rose dramatically during the most important stretch of the season, but what is Patterson’s outlook for 2014 and perhaps beyond?
With the firing of head coach Leslie Frazier on Monday, the Vikings’ new head coach may have an offensive background and surely a new offensive coordinator will also be in place. That can only be good news for Patterson, as public declarations about his inability to grasp an NFL playbook dogged him early in the season and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave seemed unwilling to rely on a rookie for a significant role.
Patterson will be draftable in 12 and 14-team leagues next year, and it goes without saying he is a terrific option in dynasty leagues. If he has an expanded role offensively from the start next season it’s possible his role returning kicks will be diminished some, but Patterson’s production as a kickoff returner this year is notable (1,393 yards, second-most in the league, and a league-best 32.4 yards per kickoff return) and he’ll still have increased value in leagues that count return yardage.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.