Cordarrelle Patterson: Does he even matter to the Vikings?


Fans are hoping that Cordarrelle Patterson will “emerge” in 2015 and begin to justify not just the draft pick the Vikings used on him but the trade that was made to move up in the draft and get him in 2013.

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But really, should we even care about Cordarrelle Patterson at this point? Is he even that relevant to the plan?

It’s easy to understand the attachment some fans still feel toward Patterson when you consider how dazzling he was in 2013 as a rookie. That kind of electrifying talent doesn’t come along that often. In recent years, only Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin have brought that kind of immediate excitement to the Vikings as offensive skill players.

It was fun watching Patterson do crazy things on the football field. And it was fun imagining the kind of player Patterson could become once he developed his raw talents to the point where he was ready to contribute as a full-fledged receiver and not just an exciting return man/gimmick player.

And then 2014 happened.

Not only did Patterson fall on his face in 2014, he was humiliatingly usurped on the depth chart by Charles Johnson, a former practice squad player who was picked up almost as an after-thought.

In the offseason, the Vikings brought in Mike Wallace to give them yet another outside threat. With Johnson and Wallace in place, and Jarius Wright figuring as a solid #3, it’s now hard to see a clear-cut offensive role for Patterson.

Optimistic fans still believe Patterson can figure it out in 2015 and claim his rightful place as the Next Big Thing in Minnesota. Norv Turner and others associated with the Vikings continue stoking the flames of hope by insisting Patterson still has a chance to be a starter.

Obviously, it would be great if the light went on for Patterson and he began living up to the hype and the talent. There may be no obvious big role for Patterson as of now but that plan can always be changed. There’s always room for another great offensive weapon.

But the truth is, optimistic as some may be about Patterson’s future, right now he is basically irrelevant to the Vikings’ plans. The Vikings know what they have in Johnson, Wallace and Wright and they suspect they have another solid piece in rookie Stefon Diggs. Anything Patterson gives them at this point is gravy.

The Vikings may hope Patterson emerges, but they certainly are not counting on it.

Today, Cordarrelle Patterson is at most a potentially destructive return man and an offensive role player who could provide the occasional big play. As Evan Silva put it in a recent piece, he’s a rich man’s Jacoby Jones.

Some may be content with Patterson as a returner/utility player but if that’s all he truly is, then he is not close to being worth what the Vikings spent to get him.  Would you trade multiple picks and then use the first you got back to acquire the next Jacoby Jones? Didn’t think so.

The high price the Vikings paid to get Patterson is, in truth, the only reason he is still being touted as a potential starting player. Rick Spielman is not ready to admit defeat on this one any more than he is on Jeff Locke. But I suspect that behind closed doors there is much less optimism about Patterson’s potential to contribute as anything more than a role player.

I enjoyed watching Cordarrelle Patterson’s rookie exploits as much as the next person but what I truly enjoy is watching the Vikings win. If the Vikes win with Flash doing wild things on the field, great. If they win with him sitting on the bench doing nothing? Fine with me.

Next: Jeff Locke not an NFL-quality punter

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