It’s not very often we see rookies make the NFL Pro Bowl, and this year was no exception to the rule. Not a single rookie was named to the 2014 roster despite numerous candidates worthy of an invite. One of the biggest rookie snubs was Minnesota Vikings receiver/return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson.
Patterson, the 29th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, has been a dynamic difference-maker for the Vikings this season. While he has been a bit inconsistent as a pass-catcher, his playmaking abilities as a kick returner have been on full display throughout the year.
The rookie out of Tennessee returned 40 kickoffs for 1,342 yards and two touchdowns. His 33.5 yards per return average was the highest among qualified players throughout the NFL. His 109-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was the longest in NFL history. Heading into the final week of the season, he’s four yards short of the Vikings’ single-season kickoff return yards record.
Despite his outstanding accolades as a returner, the rookie was snubbed of a spot on the 2014 Pro Bowl roster for the likes of Antonio Brown and Dexter McCluster.
Brown, who also got a Pro Bowl nod as a wide receiver, returned 29 punts this season for 388 yards and one touchdown. McCluster brought back 57 punts for 654 yards and two touchdowns. While both excelled at returning punts this season, neither made an impact as a kick returner.
Seeing as Brown was already headed to the Pro Bowl as a receiver, it would have made much more sense to send Patterson as a kick returner and McCluster as a punt returner.
Instead, Patterson will have to watch from home despite being arguably the most prolific return man in the NFL this season. It seems like an insult to one of the most electrifying young players in the league.
The fan voting for the Pro Bowl has always been considered a flawed system. Patterson being left out of the game in 2014 is just another example of why the kinks still haven’t been worked out.
Another shred of evidence of why the everyday fan shouldn’t be voting on who the best players in the NFL are.