Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer said the team is planning to limit Cordarrelle Patterson’s role on kick returns. Priefer made it sound like the role could end up being very limited. As Tom Pelissero tweeted:
Despite Cordarrelle Patterson’s increased role on offense, #Vikings ST coach Mike Priefer says he hopes to keep using him on kick returns.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 18, 2014
Priefer “hopes” to keep using him on returns? That sounds like there could be a plan on the table to completely remove Patterson from returns.
And who returns kicks if not Patterson? Priefer indicated that Jerick McKinnon will get a look on both kickoff and punt returns.
Just a hunch, but I think if McKinnon shows enough on returns in training camp, the Vikings may very well take Patterson off returns entirely and go to McKinnon. The rookie has shown that he has the speed to be a dangerous weapon, now it’s just a matter of seeing what he can do in those particular roles.
Fans may not like the idea of taking Patterson off returns, but it actually makes sense to at least limit his return role. Patterson’s greatest ultimate value will be as a receiver, and if the coaches think being on returns holds him back as a receiver, then the only wise move is to take him off returns.
Again, I think it all kind of depends on McKinnon. If he can bring quick-strike ability as a returner, then Patterson can come off returns and you don’t lose anything. The Vikings certainly seem intrigued by McKinnon’s ability to bring a big-play dimension not just to their offense but their return team as well.