Vikings Rumors: Cordarrelle Patterson On the Trade Block?
By Dan Zinski
It’s no secret that the Vikings were not happy with Cordarrelle Patterson‘s performance last year, but would Rick Spielman really consider trading his 2013 first-round draft pick?
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According to a rumor that busted out across Twitter Thursday afternoon, the Vikings are indeed shopping Patterson around. Omar Kelly started the ball rolling with his tweet:
This blatant rumor-mongering seemed to annoy certain beat writers who perhaps feel it their duty to keep fans’ heads from becoming too filled with crazy notions (or maybe they just feel personally invested in carrying water for the team, who knows). Defender-of-truth Mark Craig quickly shot down the gossip:
We WANT him on that wall. We NEED him on that wall.
Though these specific rumors may have been unfounded, it’s not crazy to speculate that the Vikings might be looking to move on from Patterson if they can make the right deal. Fans started saying they should do it early last year and the drum beat only got louder as the bad games piled up.
Bad as things looked early, the situation became truly grim for Patterson when unheralded Charles Johnson rose up and took away his starting job. With Johnson doing everything Patterson seemingly is not capable of doing (running the right routes, catching the ball, trying on every play etc.,) the Vikings’ passing game became notably more effective (Teddy Bridgewater had something to do with that too, obviously).
After all the frustrations and disappointments of last year, you can’t help getting the impression that the Vikings are a little fed up with Patterson, not just for his on-field performance but his overall approach.
The Vikings this offseason have arranged for Patterson to work with an unnamed mystery “mentor” who can not only help him refine his on-field skills but learn the ins-and-outs of being a true professional.
Mike Zimmer recently talked to KFAN’s Paul Allen about what Patterson needs to work on (via ESPN):
"I think one of the biggest problems Cordarrelle had last year was, he was going to have this breakout year and he was going to be this. I think all those things maybe affected him a little bit, and he thought how easy this game would be and how easy it was going to go. And it didn’t quite go that way. So let’s just keep our heads down and work and not worry about whatever.I know he likes the limelight and all that stuff, but if you’re not playing, that stuff’s going to fade away fast."
The Vikings obviously want to make it work with Patterson, a player they traded draft picks to move up and select in 2013. But what if they conclude that there’s just no way of making Patterson fit in Norv Turner’s notoriously complicated offense?
We know Patterson has tons of talent, but we also know that in order to unlock that talent, he must be willing to work and learn the offense.
Clearly the Vikings have doubts about Patterson’s ability to focus and put in the work, or they would not have assigned him a babysitter for the offseason. Given these doubts, it’s hardly outlandish to suggest they would be willing to trade the receiver.
There’s a big difference of course between being willing to trade someone and actively seeking to trade that person. Yesterday’s rumor eruption may have been just Free Agent Frenzy nonsense, but there’s a reason people were so quick to believe it. People realize how bad Patterson was last year and how much the plan is being held up by his lack of development
It would be so much easier to just move Patterson on and use the #11 overall pick on a player like DeVante Parker, who comes with ready-made Teddy Bridgewater chemistry. At least that’s how people see it.
Of course there’s a problem for Rick Spielman: punting on Patterson would be an admission that he screwed up by trading those picks to New England and drafting the player. Spielman doesn’t like admitting defeat when it comes to his players.
The practical move might be to trade Patterson for whatever you can get, even if that isn’t very much, but Spielman won’t give up that easily. So odds are Patterson will be back in 2015. And if Patterson is back, it won’t be because Norv Turner or Mike Zimmer necessarily want him. It will be because Rick Spielman is stubborn as a mule.
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