Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson can learn from Antonio Brown

Jun 15, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) runs with the ball during mini camp. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 15, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) runs with the ball during mini camp. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

What can disappointing Vikings receiver Cordarrelle Patterson learn from Antonio Brown at Teddy Two-Gloves Passing Academy?

Cordarrelle Patterson is a changed man if you believe Mike Zimmer (and those who have chosen to parrot Zimmer and the Vikings’ Patterson hype). Patterson himself has happily trumpeted the notion that the 2016 version of himself is not the Patterson we came to know and sort of be annoyed by over the last couple years.

This Patterson works at his game, unlike the old Patterson who – in Patterson’s own words –  got a little bit lazy. Want proof that Patterson is really working at it this year? Just check out his Instagram.

It’s July and Patterson appears to be keeping with his new rigorous offseason program. Via Instagram again, we have this image of Flash and some of his fellow receivers on a Miami practice field with Teddy Bridgewater apparently cooling down after a morning of grinding.

Pictured along with Patterson and Bridgewater are fellow Teddy Two-Gloves Passing Academy attendees Jeremy Hill, Kenbrell Thompkins, Antonio Brown, Jarvis Landry and the Vikings’ own Stefon Diggs.

It’s easy to snicker at the idea of Cordarrelle Patterson, he of the two receptions in 2015, practicing with the likes of Antonio Brown. But for now let’s put aside our skepticism and see the potential positives in Patterson sponging up knowledge from a guy like Brown.

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Right off the bat, the first thing Patterson should be paying attention to is how Brown runs his routes. One of the fundamentals of route-running is going the correct distance down the field before executing a break. That part of the process has thus far been a challenge for Patterson.

Perhaps Brown can take Patterson aside and help him understand the difference between three yards and five yards? Maybe a person just has to feel that instinctively.

Second thing Patterson can learn from Brown is how to beat your man off the line-of-scrimmage. People emphasize strength when discussing this area but footwork and handwork can be just as important. There are lots of subtle tricks a receiver can learn to help him get off clean.

The old lazy Patterson probably wasn’t paying attention when someone like Greg Jennings attempted to explain the finer points of getting off the line, but the new Patterson is 100% engaged.

A third thing Patterson should work on, with Brown or really anyone who is competent in the art of receiving, is how to catch a bubble screen and run with the ball. Percy Harvin was a genius at this but unfortunately Harvin is not around to offer his advice to Patterson.

A man with Patterson’s natural ability, you would think, would be a great weapon on bubble screens yet the Vikings refuse to throw him any. It’s as if there’s more to being a good receiver than just having the God-given ability to make people miss in the open field.

Or maybe Norv Turner is just stubborn and old and doesn’t know how to use Patterson?

The fourth thing Patterson could/should learn from Antonio Brown is how to never stop fighting on a route, ever. A player like Brown understands that the play isn’t over until it’s over. A good receiver keeps trying to get open no matter how tight the corner’s coverage may be.

This really falls under the heading of attitude. We know Patterson is more committed to working this offseason, but will that commitment still hold when people are trying to cover him for real? Or will Patterson revert to old habits of becoming frustrated and giving up on routes?

The Turner-bashers may not wish to face it but there are reasons Patterson has struggled to stay on the field, and not all of them have to do with Turner being old and out-of-touch. Some of it is Patterson simply not knowing what he is doing.

Here we are in year four and Patterson presumably is ready to begin soaking up the knowledge that he spent the first three years of his career being too lazy and pig-headed to absorb. But can a person really cram three years worth of learning into one offseason?

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If Patterson turns out to be the same old Patterson this year, let’s not look back on the 2016 offseason as part of the cause. Let’s not blame Antonio Brown for failing to impart his receiving wisdom. Let’s not hang responsibility on Teddy Bridgewater for not grinding hard enough with Patterson. Let’s look back to years one through three when Patterson should have been fine-tuning his skills but was instead, apparently, wandering around in an arrogant haze.

And let’s not be shocked either.