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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Cordarrelle Patterson getting second chance on Vikings offense

By Matthew Coller

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Adam Thielen was an undrafted free agent working out for the Vikings on a tryout at rookie camp, the same year the team picked Tennessee star Cordarrelle Patterson in the first round of the draft.

When the Vikings picked Patterson that year, they probably didn’t expect him to be a special teams gunner three years later. With his combination of size, speed and athleticism, the Vikings saw him as their future star No. 1 wide receiver.

But after a couple tough years with the Vikings, Patterson’s disappearing act from Norv Turner’s offense was nearly complete, and he primarily was used as a kick returner.

So after Patterson got involved in a big way in the early portion of Monday’s win against the Giants — indirectly forcing a fumble in punt coverage, five catches, an end zone target — you can see the smile spread across Adam Thielen’s face at his buddy’s re-emergence.

“We came in together, rookie camp, roommates [in training camp], so we’ve been together since the first day we were on campus,” Thieln said. “He’s one of my better friends on the team, and just to see the way he’s worked this offseason … it’s good to see guys like that, hard workers, get rewarded for that,.”

As it turns out, when the Vikings gave Patterson a try at gunner on the punt coverage team it may have turned his career around. Patterson’s enthusiasm for the role in Week 3 against Carolina, then a big play vs. the New York Giants appears to have earned him a chance to get back in the offensive mix.

He caught a 21-yard pass one play after pressuring Giants punt returner Dwayne Harris into a fumble, then caught four more balls in the 24-10 win on Monday Night Football. He even was targeted in the end zone.

“Cordarrelle has done a nice job throughout OTAs, through training camp and through practices,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “So I felt like he earned some opportunities to get in there. When he’s had the ball he does good things, kickoff returns and things like that. I just thought it was another opportunity that we get another playmaker in there and hopefully he’ll continue to do the things that allowed him to get on the field and he’ll continue to go forward.”

Patterson caught just two passes last season and was ineffective in his first two years when external expectations were that he would become a top receiver. In his second year, he caught just 49% of balls thrown his way and appeared to struggle in picking up the offensive system, and far too often was not in the right place at the right time when running routes. However, his physical gifts and big-play ability still showed up in kick returns, where he led the NFL in both 2013 and 2015 (and he is currently No. 1 in the league).

Over the first three weeks, Patterson’s role in the offense appeared to be similar to last year: Non-existent. He only had two receptions and two rushes. But against New York, offensive coordinator Norv Turner put him on the field for nearly half the total plays and found ways to use his big-play talent as part of the plan.

“I was tired, man,” Patterson said, laughing. “That was the first time I’ve played that much in over a year, but it felt good out there, being with my teammates and trying to help out and get a win.”

The 25-year-old receiver said he gives credit to the people around him for helping him approach the situation with a positive attitude.

“You start seeing ownership you have to take and responsibility for yourself,” he said. “I do have a daughter and a girlfriend and [those] girls like my mother and my sister and they help me more than anything, not just in football but outside of football. We’re always communicating, talking about little things and just trying to keep your mind going because sometimes your mind can get lost out here in football.”

The post Cordarrelle Patterson getting second chance on Vikings offense appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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