Back in April, the Minnesota Vikings gave up a lot to draft Cordarrelle Patterson – second-, third-, fourth-, and seventh-round picks to be exact. That’s a lot to spend for a bench warmer.
Since the Vikings kicked off their 2013 campaign, they’ve given the rookie wide receiver an opportunity to make an impact on 44 offensive snaps. Compared to the Vikings’ other receivers – Greg Jennings (203), Jerome Simpson (163) and Jarius Wright (120) – Patterson’s amount of snaps is unacceptable.
The Vikings’ excuse for Patterson’s lack of playing time at the start of the season was because of the steep learning curve he was on after only one year of playing at the Division 1 level. It was expected that he would struggle with picking up an NFL playbook and still needed plenty of coaching with the finer points of playing the position.
Head coach Leslie Frazier admitted that Patterson wasn’t seeing the field enough in Week 2 and vowed to get him more involved. The rookie saw 20 snaps the next game, but then saw his snap count drop back down to 13 this past Sunday.
Whenever he’s been on the field for the Vikings this season, though, he’s found ways to stand out.
Despite his small snap count, Patteron has managed six catches for 82 yards and returned a kickoff for 105 yards and a touchdown in Week 2. Whenever he sees the field, the Tennessee product plays with passion and has flashed the dynamic playmaking that enticed the Vikings to trade so much to get him.
Just watch Patterson’s impressive sideline catch in Week 3 or the return touchdown and you’ll understand.
Even if the mental aspects are the real issue, the Vikings must find ways to manufacture touches for Patterson. Whether it’s lining him up in the backfield like they used to with Percy Harvin or setting up simple screens, the electric rookie needs the ball in his hands.
Bill Musgrave is the same offensive coordinator who was incapable of getting Harvin on the field during his days with the Vikings. Now, he’s failing to get the explosive Patterson involved and it’s limiting the Minnesota offense.
Heading into a bye week, the Vikings are now charged with the task of making sure that their offense is running at optimum levels. That should include finding ways to make Patterson an integral part of the passing game.
Enough with the excuses. It’s time to let Patterson loose.