The Minnesota Vikings need to add multiple wide receivers this offseason, and if they wind up trading Percy Harvin that need will become even greater.
With the NFL Combine taking place next week, teams will get a significant look at draft-eligible prospects as the process leading up to April’s draft heats up. There is not necessarily an elite level prospect in this year’s wide receiver class, but at first glance the group looks deep with recognizable names and viable early round options. That obviously bodes well for wide receiver-needy teams like the Vikings, and makes it easier for them to consider using their first round pick (23rd overall) on the position.
One player who has garnered a lot of positive buzz heading into the Combine is Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. He played only one year for the Volunteers after being a top junior college prospect, but he made a instant impact, setting a school record for all-purpose yards (1,858) while becoming the first player since 2008 to score a touchdown in four different ways (receiving, rushing, kickoff return, punt return) during the same season.
Current mock drafts have Patterson as a first round pick, and it’s possible he will not be available to the Vikings at their current spot in the first round. However, let’s take a closer look at Patterson as a potential option for Minnesota.
Weight: 205 lbs.
– Has excellent size and length
– Is a fluid athlete, shows natural instincts with the ball in his hands
– Is creative after the catch-showing good vision, footwork and acceleration
– Shows excellent strength to box out defenders and make contested catches
– Separates vertically well when given a free release
– Has excellent versatility
– Occasionally struggles with concentration lapses and drops
– Tends to be a body catcher, even when it’s not necessary
– Does not use his hands effectively to get off a defender’s jam; tends to move and juke to get off the line of scrimmage instead
– Is not considered a strong blocker
– Needs to refine his technique as a route runner and not tip his routes
– Only played one season of high level college football
Patterson will certainly continue to grab the attention of NFL scouts due to his athleticism and overall skill set, and he would probably have to suffer an injury or look impossibly bad during the rest of the pre-draft process to not be a first round pick. He may have benefited from another season in college, but Tennessee’s coaching change likely played a big role in his early declaration for the draft.
The Vikings will definitely be among the teams taking a closer look at Patterson starting next week, and I think in an overall sense he would be a good fit and could step into a prominent role right out of the gate next season. But I don’t think they have to consider trading up to get him if that option is on their radar, since there should be plenty of capable wide receivers available when it’s their turn in the first round.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.