The man whose self-proclaimed nickname is “flashy” doesn’t need anyone to tell him he’s going to be a breakout player, but that’s exactly what Sports Illustrated did when they named the Minnesota Vikings’ Cordarrelle Patterson a “rising star” in their upcoming issue.
Every year, SI showcases athletes who they feel will have a breakout season. The 23-year-old wide receiver was among the NFL players named to the list, along with Patrick Peterson, C.J. Spiller and others.
Although Patterson beams with confidence and an infectious smile, don’t mistake it for being cockiness. Patterson has come a long way from his days playing at a junior college before making his way to the University of Tennessee. He then quickly became an electrifying receiver and returner with the Vikings, but still has a lot of room to grow.
Patterson faced a steep learning curve at the start of the 2013 season, but eventually found his way–finishing with 45 catches for 469 yards and four touchdowns. He was also effective in the rushing game–running for 158 yards and three TDs, but he did the most damage on kick return where he led the NFL in kickoff returns with a 32.4-yard average and two returned for TDs.
This season, with new offensive coordinator, Norv Turner, Patterson will have the ball in his hands in a variety of different ways and have more opportunities to showcase his play-making and make-you-miss abilities. With Jerome Simpson expected to be suspended, Patterson will see an expanded role in the offense.
Much like his teammate Adrian Peterson, Patterson becomes a special player when he gets the ball in open space. Turner’s offense relies on spacing and creating holes in the defense for receivers. Patterson’s versatility and ability to line up all over the field–out wide, in the slot and out of the backfield–allows the Vikings to get him the ball in a lot of creative ways. Patterson’s YAC, or yards after catch, will certainly see an increase in 2014.
Inconsistent play at the quarterback position and the predictability of the offense last season surely hindered the development of Patterson, but with more structure and a revamped offense this season, “flashy” is poised to have a breakout year.