Ask Greg Jennings about Vikings rookie Cordarrelle Patterson. He will tell you. This young man is a special talent.
Jennings gushed openly to Kevin Seifert about Patterson’s ability. The veteran zeroed in specifically on one attribute of Patterson’s, a thing Jennings calls “the definitive step.”
What is this precisely? Jennings defines it as a certain crisp way of sticking the top of your route so that you get a little extra separation from the defender. Jennings had it coming out of college but says he lost the attribute as coaches taught him to ditch the stick moves and round off routes for the sake of disguise.
“That [definitive step] kind of gets washed out because everything they teach you is that they want everything to look the same,” Jennings explained. “The definitive step starts to kind of fade away, but that’s what creates that separation.”
But Jennings wants Patterson to hold on to his “definitive step” and keep getting that separation. Jennings also is impressed by Patterson’s raw speed. He said, “If you see the back of his jersey, you might as well stop running, because it’s over.”
That’s Patterson’s teammate though. You would expect a guy like Jennings, a team player all the way, to gush about a highly-touted rookie’s talents. What about more objective observers?
We go back to Kevin Seifert again. The ESPN blogger says at least half a dozen people have spoken to him about how impressed they are by Patterson. But Seifert cautions us to temper our enthusiasm with a bit of realism. He reminds us that players are still not practicing at full-speed and full-contact, and a guy like Patterson with his speed and moves is naturally going to look extra-good in such circumstances.
We’ll have to wait until actual football is being played before we will know just how special Patterson can be. But clearly the talent is there. And by all accounts Patterson is eagerly drinking up the knowledge being fed him by veterans like Jennings, who has become a full-on mentor to the former Tennessee Vol.
No one will be watching with more eagerness than Rick Spielman who traded away a bunch of draft picks to move up and get Patterson. Early returns suggest it was a shrewd gamble, but once again, it is early in the process.