The Minnesota Vikings traded into the back end of the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft to make Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson their third player selected in that round.
Last year, Patterson emerged as arguably the best return specialist in the NFL, but struggled to find a niche at the receiver position. All the transition at the QB spot certainly had something to do with that for the Vikings and their rookie star, but with Matt Cassel taking a majority of the first round reps this offseason and Patterson growing into his own as an NFL player, the rookie jitters appear to be gone and he looks primed for super-stardom.
I was incredibly impressed by his brief time on the field for the Vikings’ first pre-season action against the Oakland Raiders. On four targets, Patterson caught three passes for 38 yards and just showed a confidence that you didn’t see from him last year. He adjusted to a poorly thrown ball on his first catch and used his body to shield the defender for a nice gain. He then shielded a defender again on a comeback route for a first down on a ball that was put on his back shoulder and down near the ground. Another nice adjustment by Patterson, another nice grab.
He then had a nice catch and run on a crossing route where he also had to adjust to a ball that was thrown behind him by Teddy Bridgewater.
Maybe I’m overreacting, or maybe I’m not. I think Patterson is primed to be an absolute star this year, regardless of what quarterback is going to be getting him the ball with the Vikings.
This is a big, athletic, fast receiver who has clearly got a better grasp of running routes, using his big frame against defensive backs, and has always had an ability to make plays after the catch.
The NFC North is already littered with top flight talent at the wide receiver position between Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson, Jordy Nelson, and others. Add Patterson to the list, and a guy that I think is going to be a significant breakout player this season.