It didn’t take long for the Minnesota Vikings to put points on the board in their Week 2 game against the Chicago Bears. On the opening kickoff, rookie wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson ran 105 yards on his way to the first six points of his NFL career.
So why haven’t the Vikings made Patterson a bigger part of their offense?
It’s rather clear that Patterson, a 2013 first-round pick, is a dynamic playmaker when the ball is in his hands. The Vikings first got a glimpse the electricity he brings during the preseason, when he nearly scored on his first kickoff return. Patterson duplicated that excitement on Sunday, returning the opening kickoff to give the Vikings an early edge.
Despite the sparks he created on special teams, Patterson saw only six snaps on offense. He’s a first-round pick brought in to help aide the passing game, and yet the Vikings continue to let him sit on the bench when the offense is on the field.
Meanwhile, the Vikings’ receivers who have seen the field haven’t exactly been consistent. Jerome Simpson had an outstanding Week 1, but struggled in Week 2. Greg Jennings excelled in Week 2, but was a non-factor in Week 1. Even Kyle Rudolph hasn’t been himself. So what’s keeping Patterson on the bench?
There were reports during the preseason that Patterson wasn’t handling the mental aspects of the position as well as the Vikings would have liked. That could very well still be the case, but at some point, you have to give him an opportunity to prove his worth.
Now standing at 0-2, the Vikings need to inject some excitement into their offense, and Patterson is the best option. Even if he’s struggling to pick up the offense, Minnesota must orchestrate opportunities for the rookie to get his hands on the ball. Whether it’s throwing screens to him or lining him up in the backfield and handing him the pigskin, Patterson needs to get more touches moving forward.
First rounders simply aren’t supposed to spend so much time on the sideline – especially a sparkplug like Patterson. If the Vikings want to start winning, they’d be smart to up his snap count in the not-so-distant future.