Patterson impresses in first practice

Cordarrelle Patterson struggled early in windy conditions, but he showed route-running versatility and athleticism when practice kicked into gear. Plus, notes from Friday's opening practice.

Cordarrelle Patterson wasn't sure how a "go" route would save his two legs, but he proved he only needed one hand to haul in the catch of the day at Minnesota Vikings' first full practice of training camp.

Patterson, like many of the receivers and quarterbacks, struggled with windy conditions Friday afternoon, but once the routine progressed to the seven-on-seven and full-team portions of practice, the Vikings' first-round receiver shined during his first full practice of training camp Friday afternoon.

Patterson started by dropping consecutive passes during individual drills and had to take some turns over as position coach George Stewart tried to correct the finer points of route-running and catching.

"It was pretty tough. Lack of focus. Coach was telling us we just have to focus in on the ball," Patterson said of the windy conditions. "We were struggling and looking at the ball, but when the wind hit it and we took our eyes off it we had a couple drops."

Quarterback Christian Ponder said everyone involved in the passing game was affected by the breezy conditions.

"On certain throws you would try to touch the ball and if you do that on certain throws it's gone," Ponder said. "A couple hung in the air and the wind took them away. I looked like some bad plays, but that's going to happen. We're going to play outdoors in the wind probably and it's just good for us to get that work in."

Ponder's pass to Patterson down the right sideline didn't hang too long. Patterson was able to create enough separation from safety Andrew Sendejo and came down with a reception covering about 50 yards. It wasn't impressive just for its length either.

"It was a little left-handed, one-handed, but I had to grab it in with two. I didn't score with it, though. I didn't make it to the end zone. I went out at about the 5," Patterson said.

"Coach told me I'm just trying to save your legs a little right here by giving you a go route. I'm like, ‘How are you going to save my legs by giving him a go route?' But he told me just run hard and Ponder is going to put it you. I ran hard and it was there. It was perfect."

Said Ponder: "It was good. A one-handed catch right in front of the crowd. I think he planned that one. He looks great. I think a lot of receivers looked great today. We've just got to keep getting that rhythm. First day back. You've just got to get out those kinks."

Patterson showed some route-running versatility later in practice when he went over the middle of the field and made a good leaping catch in traffic. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder embraces going across the middle.

"You've got to have faith in yourself. I'm a big guy, so I like to go in the middle," he said. "I like it when the (defensive backs) get their hands on me because I feel I can get past them because that's how confident I am."

Patterson said he enjoys going over the middle because it's an area where he make one move and finds the opening he needs to turn a short pass into a long touchdown.

He isn't quite as comfortable fielding punts, however. Like the dropped passes early in practice, he also let a couple punts slip away from him.

"I'm kind of comfortable with it. In college, I didn't really do it that much. I did it when they needed me to, but out here it was a little windy," he said. "I had a couple drops, but you've got to bounce back. You can't let a drop distract you from what you're trying to reach in life."

By the end of practice, it was an encouraging first day from the No. 29 overall pick.

"You've got to feel natural anywhere you go," he said. "You get a lot of stuff thrown at you, a lot of pressure, but you've got to be a big guy and step up and say you can handle it."


  • Like the receivers and quarterbacks, punter Jeff Locke also needed some time to adjust to conditions. He mishit a few of his first punts as the snaps sailed as well as the ball moving from the drop of his hand to his foot. However, when he hit it solidly, he was consistently sending his punts 50 to 65 yards with the wind. Simpson also fumbled the ball after making a catch over the middle, but Greg Jennings recovered.

  • Patterson wasn't the only receiver who had a big gainer. Jerome Simpson got a step on his defender down the left sideline and hauled in a touchdown pass of about 60 yards.

  • WR Joe Webb had one impressive over-the-shoulder catch for about a 30-yard gain during full-team work.

  • CB Marcus Sherels had an interception during full-team work when Matt Cassel overthrow Rhett Ellison and Sherels was there to gather the easy interception.

  • Center John Sullivan made it through the entire practice taking the first-team reps as he recovers from microfracture surgery in February to his left knee.

  • RB Adrian Peterson wore a small camera on the side of his helmet. The Vikings had been putting the helmet on various players during some of their offseason practices.

  • As expected LB Desmond Bishop worked at weakside linebacker but didn't take all of the first-team reps. Marvin Mitchell rotated with him as Bishop, who signed with the Vikings after minicamp, gets acclimated to the Vikings defense.

  • The Vikings got through practice without any visible injuries.

    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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