Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson admitted Thursday that he isn’t having as much fun as he had in his rookie season when he was a young sensation who burst on the NFL scene.
Whether it’s his fourth different offensive coordinator in four years or the increased attention he has received in the absence of Adrian Peterson – teams run far fewer eight-in-the-box defensive looks and Patterson is often double teamed when he runs downfield routes – Patterson has struggled and he isn’t having the fun he was hoping for or expected.
“It’s difficult, but it’s my job,” Patterson said. “This is my main job now. I just need to focus in – go out and play ball and have fun like last year. I was having a lot of fun last year. This year, it seems like I’m not having as much fun as last year. I just need to find that little missing piece and have some fun.”
While having fun isn’t always equated with success, Patterson realizes that the career of an NFL player is typically a short one. In most lines of work, people don’t reach their top potential or earning power until they’re in their 30s or 40s. In the NFL, once a player hits 30, he’s viewed as an old man. The time that players spend on the field and with their teammates is precious and often short-lived.
As a result, having fun and enjoying yourself becomes even more important because it goes by quickly, so making the most out of that finite window of athletic opportunity is important.
“It’s always about having fun,” Patterson said. “This is a job, but you can’t take it too seriously. You got to enjoy it. It doesn’t last forever, so just enjoy it while you can.”
Through 10 games, Patterson’s numbers haven’t been what anyone expected. In the preseason, he was a consensus choice to be one of the breakout players of 2014, but that hasn’t materialized. He has 28 receptions with a long play of 28 yards, hasn’t been as dynamic on kickoffs because teams are often squib-kicking away from him or forcing him to return kicks from eight or nine yards deep and he has scored just two touchdowns.
Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, but Patterson believes he hasn’t met the expectations of himself or his family and is growing weary of what he perceives as letting himself and his family down. Asked what he thought of his production through 10 games, Patterson was pretty blunt in his response about his numbers.
“Not where it is right now,” Patterson said. “They’ve been disappointing. I know I’m letting a lot of people down. It’s tough out here, man. Offensively, we’ve just got to find that groove and just get it going.”
As the Vikings prepare to meet up with hated division rival Green Bay on Sunday, Patterson is hoping to break out of the funk that has been bothering him and getting back to having fun. Just as Aaron Rodgers admonished Packers fans to relax and not dwell on the negative when the Packers opened the season with a 1-2 record, Patterson is looking to bring the fun back to his game. Part of that is the simplest part – keeping things simple and not overthinking. If he can accomplish that, it will go a long way to bringing the fun back to his game.
“I’ve been thinking too much,” Patterson said. “Last year, I was having fun. This year, I’ve been thinking too much – wanting to make too many plays. When you start doing stuff like that, you start messing up. I’ve been seeing myself mess up a lot this year, much more than I did last year. This week, I’m just trying not to think – just go out there, play ball, have fun and enjoy it.”