Don’t look for Cordarrelle Patterson as a duel threat return man any time in the near future. According to Mike Priefer, Patterson will remain as strictly a kick returner for the time being.
The Vikings special teams coach explained the reasoning behind keeping Patterson off punts. “He’s got a lot on his plate right now. I think it’s hard for a young guy to be, with as much offense as he’s involved in now, a kickoff returner and a punt returner.”
Patterson did line up in a two-man punt return formation alongside Marcus Sherels last week against Philadelphia. The Eagles had kept the ball away from Patterson all day on kickoffs and the Vikings thought maybe if they snuck in Patterson on punts he might be able to get something.
The move resulted in Patterson calling for and receiving a fair catch.
Patterson as a punt return man seems to make sense in a couple of ways. One, it gets the ball in his hands more, giving him more chances to utilize his electrifying talent. Two, it allows you to move on from Marcus Sherels who has done a good job returning punts but is also taking up a cornerback spot that might better be used on someone who can actually play cornerback halfway decently.
But I still don’t see it happening. As Patterson becomes more involved in the offense and gives you more explosive plays that way, the inclination to use him on returns will diminish. His ultimate value will be greatest as a receiving threat, not as a return man.
Ultimately I bet the Vikings stop using him on kickoffs too, to protect him physically if nothing else. That will be up to whoever comes in to replace Leslie Frazier and his staff.