6 free agents the Vikings should already be thinking about for 2021

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Ryan Fitzpatrick
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Ryan Fitzpatrick /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) Cordarrelle Patterson /

Cordarrelle Patterson – KR/WR/RB

Week 11 of the 2016 season is the last time a Vikings player returned a kickoff for a touchdown and Cordarrelle Patterson was the guy who did it.

Patterson reminded Minnesota just how dangerous of a kick returner he is during their recent win over the Chicago Bears in Week 10. The former Vikings first-round draft pick took the opening kickoff of the second half and returned it 104 yards for a score to give the Bears a 13-7 lead.

Since Patterson’s departure after the 2016 campaign, Minnesota hasn’t been able to find a permanent replacement to be their kick returner. Since 2017, 14 different players have returned at least one kick for the Vikings in a regular-season game.

Patterson, on the other hand, hasn’t missed a beat as a kick returner since leaving Minnesota. Including this year, he’s returned three kickoffs for touchdowns and averaged 29.3 yards per kick return in the last four seasons.

If the Vikings decided to bring Patterson back in 2021, he would not only give their kick return unit a tremendous upgrade, but the team could utilize him in a variety of different ways on the offensive side of the ball as well.