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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Zulgad: Mike Zimmer might have a very good reason for talking up Cordarrelle Patterson

By Judd Zulgad

Mike Zimmer has taken nearly every opportunity possible during the Vikings’ offseason workouts to talk about the improvements being made by wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

The latest example came Tuesday, when the Vikings coach pointed out that Patterson has cut down on his mental errors. “He’s running the routes at the proper depth, he’s lining up in the proper place,” said Zimmer, who has never been known to throw compliments around. “I don’t know that it’s ever been an issue with athletic ability with him, but maybe sometimes the focus. It’s like today (before) practice. … He said, ‘I’m going to get better today.’ In the past, it maybe was not all about that.”

So after being a major disappointment in Zimmer’s first two seasons as head coach, has Patterson turned a corner? Has a light finally gone on? That’s one way to look at it.

But taking anything an NFL coach says at face value can be dangerous because so often there is an agenda at work. In this case, one has to wonder if Zimmer is attempting to talk up Patterson in an attempt to get something, anything, in return for a guy who has fallen off the depth chart at wide receiver.

A fifth-round pick in a minor trade near the end of training camp, for instance, would be better than nothing.

Patterson remains productive on kickoff returns, he averaged an NFL-leading 31.8 yards and returned two kicks for touchdowns last season, but his reception total has dropped from 45 in his rookie season, to 33 in his first year under Zimmer, to only two for 10 yards last year.

By now every Vikings fan knows Patterson story. Taken with a first-round pick obtained in a trade with the New England Patriots in 2013, Patterson possesses big-time athletic ability but little football savvy and he has shown little interest in making himself better. Zimmer attempted to arrange for Peterson to work with a mentor last offseason but Patterson blew it off.

That led to Patterson having almost no role on offense last season. The Vikings took wide receiver Laquon Treadwell with their first-round pick in April, meaning Patterson is now behind Treadwell, Stefon Diggs, Jarius Wright, Charles Johnson and even Adam Thielen on the depth chart.

For the first time, it does appear the 25-year-old Patterson might be taking steps to improve his game this offseason. He always has embraced his workout plan, but that has nothing to do with becoming a better receiver or improving his route running.

Patterson was among the Vikings wide receivers who spent time in Florida two months ago working with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Patterson also has said all the right things, but that means nothing if he doesn’t back it up.

“Sometimes it takes guys a little while to figure things out,” Zimmer said. “A lot of guys, they’re able to do a lot of things because of their athletic ability, they can get away with it in some of their younger years in high school, in college and things like that. It just takes them a while to figure things out.”

So has Patterson figured it out, or does Zimmer simply want other teams to believe that’s the case?

The post Zulgad: Mike Zimmer might have a very good reason for talking up Cordarrelle Patterson appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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