The Minnesota Vikings may have the impetus to get Cordarrelle Patterson more involved, even if it didn't happen the way they wanted: Jerome Simpson's arrest and the team's reaction to it could continue to increase Patterson's opportunities on offense.
Simpson was arrested early Saturday morning after his car stalled on I-394 heading out of Minneapolis and he failed sobriety tests before refusing to allow a blood test to check his alcohol level. On Wednesday, he was charged with DWI, third-degree refusal to submit to a chemical test, a gross misdemeanor, along with a misdemeanor count of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said the plan has been to try to get Patterson more involved in the offense, but admitted "it definitely will be part of the plan" after Simpson's arrest.
"We intended to continue to get him more reps, and you saw it in the Washington game and the prior one, trying to get him more reps," head coach Leslie Frazier said. "That was a part of the plan anyway, and it definitely will be a part of the plan now, with some of the concerns that we have."
Frazier said he expected some clarity from the NFL on Simpson Wednesday, but the team is limited in what kind of discipline it can dole out to Simpson beyond the league's decisions based on the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Simpson is expected to play Sunday, but Frazier said they are still discussing whether their leading receiver will start.
Simpson has the most targets (62), second-most receptions (33) next to Greg Jennings, and the most receiving yards (491) among the Vikings this year. He doesn't have any touchdowns.
Patterson meanwhile, has only 28 targets and 18 catches for 168 yards and one touchdown.
"Run after the catch shows up with Cordarrelle. Jerome's been having a terrific season for us, made some tough catches, run very good routes," Frazier said when asked to compare their playing styles. "But the one thing that sticks out with Cordarrelle and you see it on kickoff returns: his ability with the ball in his hands. He's a hard guy to tackle, can make people miss and can run away from you. Those are playmaking qualities that you look for in a player, and in this case a receiver. So, that's the one thing that sticks out."
Frazier is correct when he says the Vikings have been increasing his playing time, even before Simpson's arrest.
He was extremely limited in his first two weeks of work, getting only 9 percent of the offensive snaps. But slowly his percentages increased. It was 24 percent in Week 3, then 25 percent, then 31 percent in the next two games. Against Green Bay, he saw 32 percent of the offensive snaps, then 37 percent against Dallas and finally 40 percent against Washington.
For the season, Jennings has played 80 percent of the offensive snaps, Simpson 66 percent and Patterson 26 percent, moving ahead of Joe Webb (17 percent) but still trailing Jarius Wright (47 percent).
Simpson continues to practice with the Vikings, participating in full on Wednesday, but look for Patterson to become increasingly involved in the offense.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Patterson ‘definitely' getting more involved
Viking Update Top Stories
Sizing up the competitionThe Vikings will face some difficult challenges in 2017. These are the strengths and weaknesses that their opponents will bring to the table.
Viking Update5:29 AM
Sunday slant: Breakout Vikings for defenseThis week’s draft will help shape the roster, but no matter who is added to the mix, some veteran players on the roster right now have every chance to earn a significant (maybe…
Viking Update5:15 AM
Vikings visitor analysis: The versatile TEThe Minnesota Vikings are in search of a tight end to add depth and they visited with one that was very impressive at the NFL Scouting Combine and showed versatility in college.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 6:13 AM
Most feared player for each Vikings opponentWith the Minnesota Vikings’ schedule out, we break down the key player for each opponent that will be key to each game plan.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 5:43 AM