Notebook: Patterson progressing, impressing

Cordarrelle Patterson says he still has a long way to go, but he was impressive in his preseason debut, leading the Vikings in receiving. Plus, get a dozen notes that help tell the tale of the game.

Heading into Friday's preseason opener, there was a lot of speculation as to whether rookie wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson would make an impact. As the guy who, whether anyone in the organization wants to admit it or not, was brought in to replace Percy Harvin as a dynamic receiver/returner, all eyes were going to be on him from fans who could be skeptical about replacing a fan favorite like Harvin.

It took all of about 10 seconds for Patterson to make his first big splash. He took the opening kickoff 5 yards deep in the end zone and returned it 50 yards to get the Metrodome crowd on its feet. He had his share of nerves, but knew he was going to be on the field for a lot of the game and having a big play out of the gate took away much of the nerves he may have been feeling.

"It took a lot of the pressure off," Patterson said. "Being out there so long, I was kind of tired because I was so happy to be out there. The first series I kind of gassed out, but, when I got my first series out of the way, it was pretty good."

Patterson ended up leading all Vikings receivers with four catches for 54 yards and was consistently getting off the line quickly and doing his assignment as called, whether he was the intended target of a pass or not. Quarterback Matt Cassel was impressed with what he saw, as Patterson played like a veteran, not a player in his first NFL game.

"I think, like any rookie that comes in, it's probably a little overwhelming," Cassel said. "You're in a new city with new faces, unfamiliar surroundings, a new offense, everything else. You're just trying to get your bearings about yourself and you're in a new offense. Each day that you're with the coaches and each practice you get to go out there, you learn something. You learn more from your mistakes than you do from your success."

The immediate media reaction was that the Vikings have themselves the real deal in Patterson, but he isn't ready to start making any bold predictions. This was just the first of many games he will have in his NFL career and he's not going to start projecting anything beyond the next game.

"I can't say that I'm going to do this or do that," Patterson said. "Then it won't happen. I can just look at the film, see what mistakes I made and go from there."

For his teammates, it's another story. They were in awe of what the rookie was able to accomplish and the good things he did, both for the offense and the special teams.

"He did awesome for his first professional game," fellow receiver Jerome Simpson said. "He's going to be really good. He's going to help us a lot."

When the Vikings drafted Patterson, the knock on him was that he was raw in route-running and the little things that make wide receivers successful in the NFL. He admitted he has made a lot of progress since first stepping on the Winter Park practice field in May.

"I have come a long way," Patterson said. "I feel it. I had receivers telling me that (I) have come a long way since OTAs with route running, but, personally, I feel like there is a lot more than I can do to get better."

While Vikings fans had a love affair with Harvin, if opening night was any indication, they're ready to give their love to Patterson and he's ready to return it in kind.

"It was great to be out here in front of the home crowd," Patterson said. "The crowd was all into it, even though it was only a preseason game. I can't wait until the regular season and how that will be."


  • Prior to the game, the Vikings announced that Joey Browner will join the Ring of Honor at halftime of the Vikings Sunday night game Oct. 27 against the Packers.

  • Both teams sat a lot of their players, which is pretty standard for a preseason opener. The Vikings sat 10 players, including Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen, Chad Greenway, Kevin Williams, Brian Robison and Xavier Rhodes. The Texans sat a total of 17 players.

  • Rookie Sharrif Floyd was having an impressive debut, but, with seven minutes left in the first half, he went down with a knee injury. He had some tests on his left knee done on the trainer's table, but returned to his teammates on the bench within a few minutes. However, he didn't return to the game.

    Following the game, Floyd said the injury wasn't anything to be overly concerned about.

    "It felt weird at first, but it wasn't anything serious," Floyd said. "I didn't get hurt. I just got cut from behind, but everything's good."

  • Why did the Texans win the game? They dominated the second half in just about every facet of the game. In the first half, the Vikings outgained the Texans 247 to 199 yards. In the second half, Houston turned the tables – outgaining the Vikings 240-49, which explained how a 13-10 halftime lead turned into a 27-13 loss.

  • In a game that, had it been played in the regular season likely would have been dominated by the running of Peterson and Arian Foster, the Vikings ran just 15 times for 51 yards with a long run of eight yards and Houston ran 29 times (19 in the second half) for 133 yards.

  • The teams combined to throw 77 passes and a total of 26 players caught at least one pass – 13 for the Texans and 13 for the Vikings.

  • Jeff Locke averaged just 39.2 yards in four punts, but that was a little misleading because two of his punts came when the Vikings had already crossed midfield and his job was to pin the Texans deep in their own end.

  • The Texans ran 74 plays, as opposed to 52 by the Vikings. In the second half, the disparity was pronounced. The Texans ran 37 plays in each half, while the Vikings had 31 in the first half and just 21 in the second half.

  • In the good news department for the Vikings, they committed just one penalty the entire game.

  • There wasn't a penalty in the game until 10 minutes remained in the second quarter.

  • Friday's game was the 236th preseason game in franchise history. The Vikings have a franchise preseason record of 139-94-3.

  • The announced paid attendance was 62,306, but about 10,000 to 15,000 of those sold tickets went unused.

    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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