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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Entering a contract year, Cordarrelle Patterson says he’d like to stay in Minnesota

By Dane Mizutani

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — In perhaps one of the most noteworthy moves of the offseason, the Vikings declined the fifth-year option for receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

That seems, on the surface at least, to have motivated Patterson through the first couple weeks of Organized Team Activities (OTAs).

“I really don’t know,” Patterson said when asked Wednesday about the team’s decision. “That’s not my choice. I’ve been here for a couple years now and I would love to stay here. If things work out good I would love to be here. If not, I’ll take my talents somewhere else. That’s not my choice. So I just have to make sure I do my thing Sundays and make sure I’m still here.”

Players are still limited by NFL rules, so they can only practice in shorts and helmets during OTAs. Receivers can look awfully good in those scenarios, and Patterson has stood out when given some opportunities.

In two practices open to the media, he’s worked almost exclusively with the second-team offense and has caught a handful of passes (dropping one from Shaun Hill on Wednesday). He saw some action with the first-team group on Wednesday, though the ball didn’t come his way.

Separation gained by Patterson might be more important than the actual drop.

Patterson, 25, has struggled to become a reliable receiver for offensive coordinator Norv Turner in two seasons since his standout rookie campaign. Consistent and finely-tuned routes have been the biggest deficiency, coaches say.

He lit it up in 2013 with nine total touchdowns (four receiving, three rushing, two returns) while being used as more of a gadget player than a downfield target. But Patterson saw a significant drop off in his second season when challenged to learn the nuances of receiver. He was benched in the middle of that season and has not started at receiver since Nov. 2, 2014.

“Kick returner, that’s just something I’ve been. I can do that in my sleep,” Patterson said. “Wide receiver, that’s something I have to work on each and every day. Just trying to get better at that. When I get that down, I feel like I’ll be good.”

Saying his cognizant of the deficiencies in his game, Patterson has worked with a private quarterbacks and receivers coach, Steve Calhoun, this offseason to refine his routes.

That’s something Captain Munnerlyn said he noticed in OTAs.

“We were talking about that in the meeting room as a unit in the defensive back room,” Munnerlyn said. “We were like, ‘Man. This guys looks different.’ He’s running routes better. He catches the ball. He never had a problem with catching the ball. He’s definitely looked different. I don’t know if he’s slimmed down a little. He definitely looks different. He’s going out there making plays.

“I don’t know if them not picking up his fifth-year option woke him up a little bit or what. He’s definitely smelling it now. He’s going out and working.”

The pressure is on.

Back in February, coach Mike Zimmer said it’s time for Patterson to “prove it” while the man that drafted Patterson, general manager Rick Spielman, called it a “telltale year” for the 29th-overall pick in the 2013 draft.

“Somebody said it’s a make-or-break year,” Patterson said. “I don’t know if it is or not. I’d love to be here if the timing is right. If not I’ll take my talents somewhere else. I would love to be here. I’ve been here three going on four years. Why go somewhere else? Everybody around here I know and stuff like that. If things don’t really work out you’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do.”

The post Entering a contract year, Cordarrelle Patterson says he’d like to stay in Minnesota appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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