Using Cordarrelle Patterson As a Decoy Yields Mixed Results


A week after employing Cordarrelle Patterson to great effect as a rusher, the Vikings changed up their game plan against the Patriots and used Patterson exclusively as a receiver and a decoy.

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Patterson got just four total touches in the game, catching four passes for 56 yards on 7 targets. One of the balls targeted to him was intercepted.

Probably Patterson’s biggest impact in the game came on Matt Asiata’s 25-yard TD catch in the first quarter. On this play, the Vikings faked it to Patterson on the jet sweep and got enough reaction from the Patriots to allow Asiata to run wide open and score an easy TD.

That’s an example of how Patterson was used to good effect as a decoy.

A later example shows the Vikings using the fake to Patterson much less effectively. On this play, Patterson sets up on the left of the formation and motions into place as an I-back.

If that sounds familiar, it should. It was the same set-up the Vikings used on Patterson’s 67-yard TD run against the Rams.

80 truck is the name of that particular play and it worked beautifully against St. Louis. The Vikings tried a pass play off that same action against the Patriots, hoping the Patriots would bite hard on the fake handoff to Patterson.

And the result was this.

The Patriots don’t bite on Patterson and Matt Cassel throws the ball to…no one.

Outside of the Pats’ early problems dealing with the Vikings’ misdirection, the Patriots didn’t seem to experience any issues arising from Patterson’s presence on the field.

The idea that Patterson is now such a fearsome weapon that teams will game plan to stop him and it will open up things for other players…that didn’t materialize against the Patriots.

The way the Vikings offense looked against New England, it’s no surprise that they’ve already decided to overlook Adrian Peterson’s legal issues and activate him.

Patterson may be a rising star, but Peterson is still the guy defenses fear. No AD meant no joy for Minnesota Sunday.