If the Minnesota Vikings are going to have any success in 2013, they are going to need former Tennessee receiver and first round pick Cordarrelle Patterson to mature faster than people expect him to. The good news for them is, Patterson shined in his pre-season debut, putting on display his versatility and speed.
Patterson caught four passes for 54 yards, and had a 50 yard kickoff return. That type of playmaking skill is what caused the Vikings to trade three picks to get back into the first round and take him. Patterson still looks like he’s catching the ball with his body more than snatching it with his hands, but you can’t deny that when he gets the ball in space, there weren’t many more players in this year’s draft class that had the ability to make people miss in the open field.
On the other sideline, the Houston Texans had to be very pleased with what they saw from their first round wide receiver as well. Former Clemson star DeAndre Hopkins had four catches for 52 yards and a touchdown playing with both the first and second units. Hopkins’ touchdown grab was a fantastic catch in a one-on-one situation that he wrestled away from the cornerback.
Even though it’s just one pre-season game, it’s great for these two teams to see their young playmakers not only getting in on the action, but having a significant impact. The Texans are giving Lestar Jean the seniority treatment and he’s taking some first-team reps right now, but you’d expect Hopkins to take over that role sooner rather than later.
Patterson is currently behind Jerome Simpson on the depth chart, who is reportedly also having a great camp. The only problem is going to be how those Vikes receivers get the ball. Christian Ponder was an uninspiring 1/2 with an interception, but he still has time. The Vikings are really counting on him to step up his game this year with a big money free agent signing in Greg Jennings as well as a first round pick in Cordarrelle Patterson.