Involving Patterson a new Vikings priority

The Vikings are intent on getting young, explosive receiver Cordarrelle Patterson more heavily involved in the offense. GM Rick Spielman and offensive coordinator Norv Turner talked about the possibilities, referencing Josh Gordon's progress under Turner last year.

Finding more ways to get Cordarrelle Patterson involved in 2014 is a priority for the Minnesota Vikings.

Former Vikings coach Leslie Frazier maintained throughout his final months in that position that limiting Patterson early in his rookie season, at least on offense, was the correct move. That doesn't sound like it will continue to be the case this year with Mike Zimmer as the new head coach and Norv Turner the new offensive coordinator.

One of Turner's first acts was to design 10 plays to get Patterson the ball, according to general manager Rick Spielman.

"Norv already put in 10 plays for him. That's the first thing he was doing when he was putting the X's and O's part of it together," Spielman said. "He is a unique talent. Last year, we were able to collect three first-round draft picks and felt very strong about him where we did trade back up in the first round to get him and know what type of unique traits that he has as an athlete – just not only because of his speed and movement skills, but his size."

Patterson, at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, started slowly but ended the season with 45 catches for 469 yards – third among the Vikings in 2014 – and four touchdowns on offense. He also led the league in kickoff returns, averaging 32.4 yards on 43 returns, including two touchdowns.

"When we did trade Percy Harvin away last year, we wanted to get that dynamic returner back," Spielman said. "We wanted to get a guy that had traits Percy Harvin had for us and it's a young guy that I think is going to continue to develop, and I expect him to thrive under Norv."

Mission accomplished on the traits. Mission still ongoing on trying to establish more offensive productivity for Patterson under Turner.

"To me, there's a lot of things why I coach and one of them is the development of young players and getting a chance to be around young guys and watch them reach their potential," Turner said. "And we had the opportunity to do it with Josh Gordon last year, and it was phenomenal to take a young guy and watch and see how far he could go."

Turner was the Browns' offensive coordinator last year when explosive receiver Gordon had 87 receptions for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games played, all of them as a starter. As a rookie in 2012 and without Turner as his offensive coordinator, Gordon had 50 catches for 805 yards and five touchdowns in 16 games played.

Spielman also referenced Turner's work with Gordon, and Turner sees the possibilities with Patterson and an offensive group that is pretty well set at positions other than quarterback.

"We've got a really good group of young players here, not only Cordarrelle but a number of guys and a pretty good running back," Turner said. "So I look at the potential this group has and you're anxious to get started to see how far they can go, and Cordarrelle has all the physical skills that you'd like in a player. So what I try to do when I watch tape, I watch tape and look at guys, the things they already do well, how they match up with the things we would like to do. And I think he will fit our offense extremely well."

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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