The loss of Percy Harvin will certainly leave a huge hole in the heart of the Minnesota Vikings offense moving forward. Losing a player of Harvin’s ability simply isn’t something you can get over in one offseason. The presence of 2013 first-round pick Cordarrelle Patterson will certainly help, though.
A raw prospect with questionable experience and tons of potential, Patterson saw himself slide down the first round back in April before the Vikings traded up to scoop him up at No. 29. Even with the question marks glued to his chest, Patterson is prepared to have an impact season in Minnesota as a rookie.
In order to do so, though, he’ll have to prove that he can pick up an NFL offense and grasp all of the mental aspects that come with playing wide receiver in the league. Throughout the pre-draft process, Patterson was knocked for character concerns, inexperience and a lack of football IQ. The Vikings are now charged with the task of helping him overcome those obstacles.
Once the mental speed bumps are behind him, Patterson should do nothing but shine for the Vikings. With elite playmaking skills and the ability to go the distance every time he touches the ball, the rookie receiver should help the Vikings cope with the loss of the dynamic Harvin. Especially learning behind a veteran like Greg Jennings, Patterson is in the perfect situation to thrive as a part of the Minnesota passing attack.
Unless Patterson struggles to pick up the offense, there’s little chance that he doesn’t start from the get-go in 2013. Apart from Jennings, Patterson’s top competition is Jerome Simpson, a major disappointment in 2012 and surprise re-signing this offseason. There are several youngsters who could push for playing time – Jarius Wright, Stephen Burton, Chris Summers – but none of them boast the physical tools that Patterson possesses.
If all goes as planned, the Vikings will get production from Patterson early and often. The rookie has an explosive aspect to his game that simply can’t be ignored, and it’s up to Minnesota’s coaching staff to harness it. Considering his tremendous size/speed combination and elite elusiveness, that shouldn’t be too hard.
Even if Christian Ponder has to sit there throwing screens and slants to him all game long, Patterson will find ways to create sparks in 2013.