Cordarrelle Patterson appears to be all the way back from a foot injury that took him out of the first stretch of training camp.
On Wednesday, Patterson was back to being used with the starting offense in full-team drills. On Thursday, he increased his workload to include kickoff returns.
Veteran wide receiver Greg Jennings was effusive in his praise of Patterson’s talent after seeing what he could do in his rookie season and the progress he’s making this year.
“I would say the sky is the limit, but there is no ceiling to his potential. There really isn’t. If he’s willing to put in the time, the potential is there,” Jennings said. “He has everything he needs and he’s starting to mature as a player, as an individual, so his success is going to shoot straight through the roof. I told him this and maybe it was a little premature, but I told him at some point I’m going to be able to tell my kids, ‘I played with Cordarrelle Patterson.’”
Last year, Patterson was eased into the offense in the first half of his rookie season. In the first two games, he got only 11 snaps on offense. He was targeted only 11 times in the first five games.
In the sixth game, he was targeted six times, his high-water mark for the first half of the season. But over the course of two games in November he was targeted a combined 20 times and finished the season with 77 targets and 45 catches for 469 yards and four touchdowns.
Patterson admitted this year that his route-running needed improvement, and Jennings said that and other parts of Patterson’s game have progressed from his rookie season.
“It’s just slowing the defense down to where he doesn’t have to think as much. I think sometimes when you’re young you have so much going through your mind – are you on the line, splits, conversion route, coverage, if they give me this look – so there is a lot going on,” Jennings said. “Once you get to the comfort level where you line up, you see what the defense is doing and you react, that’s when you’re playing your freest.”
Patterson has credited Jennings for being a big mentor to him last year and this offseason, but Jennings deflected that praise and said Patterson is putting in the work to get better and realize his potential.
Jennings has three 1,000-yard receiving seasons to his credit in his eight seasons in the NFL, but his rookie season was the lowest output for him in a year in which he played 13 games or more. In 2006, Jennings played in 14 games, making 11 starts, and caught 45 passes for 632 yards and three touchdowns.
The speed of a young receiver’s progress depends on the individual, Jennings said.
“It really gauges on the guy. It’s all about what time you’re willing to put in, but he gets it,” he said of Patterson. “Our defense gives us different looks. It’s just sometimes with him playing the back side he’s going to have more sight adjustments and there’s going to be a lot of things he’s asked to do, so his head really has to be screwed on tight.”
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Jennings praises Patterson’s potential
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