As Cordarrelle Patterson’s second season came to a disappointing end, the most veteran receiver on the Minnesota Vikings, Greg Jennings, says he refuses to let Patterson fail.
Jennings talked at length following the Vikings’ 13-9 win over the Chicago Bears’ in the season finale about how Patterson can get better, and how Jennings intends to be part of that process.
“Personally, I told him I want to get with him this offseason just so he can watch himself on film because sometimes you feel like there’s things you’re doing that looks great, but you may tipping your hat or tipping your hand at different things,” Jennings said. “I want him to see himself on film because he does a lot of things great, but there’s some little things that he has to tweak in his game to allow him to be the player that we all have expectations of him being.”
For the first nine games of the season, Patterson was considered one of the starting receivers after a promising but late-arriving rookie season. But with inconsistency in his route-running, eventually the coaching staff turned to Charles Johnson to supplant Patterson in the starting lineup.
The second-year receiver went from receiving about 60 snaps a game to regularly getting fewer than 10 a game except for an injury to one of the top three receivers – Jennings, Johnson or Jarius Wright.
Jennings said Patterson has to put this season in the past, except to learn from it.
“That’s a big part of this game, being able to mentally overcome a season like this. It’s going to be a challenge,” Jennings said. “We’re going to see if he has the resolve. I believe he does, but it’s up to him to show the resolve and to bounce back.”
Although coach Mike Zimmer has said several times during the season that he still believes in Patterson and wants to see him succeed, Zimmer took some time to gather his thoughts before answering a question about Patterson after Sunday’s game.
“I’ve got a plan for this offseason for him and hopefully it works,” Zimmer said, “but it’s going to be up to Cordarrelle. I’ll leave it at that.”
Patterson was inserted into Sunday’s game on offense after Jarius Wright left with a lower back injury. But he didn’t remain there. After a third-quarter pass went off Patterson’s hands and was intercepted by Kyle Fuller, Patterson was replaced as the third receiver by Adam Thielen, who scored the game-winning touchdown on the next series.
Jennings said he wants to work with Patterson on his route-running.
“He gets separation, but it’s what he does after he gets the separation. It’s little things like that,” Jennings said. “It’s something that we’ll watch together. It’s not badgering him because we’ve all grown; we all have that maturation process to where we have to grow. Some guys, they come in and they take off right away. This is a guy that hadn’t played a whole lot of college football at receiver. He gets thrown in and of course we have expectations as professionals so I’m not making an excuse for him, but it’s going to take time. It’s going to take a little more time than what we thought, but he has everything that he needs.”
Patterson came into the season with many projecting a breakout season for him. Instead, he finished fourth on the receiving list with 33 catches for 384 yards and only one receiving touchdown.
Jennings said he wants Patterson to see success and live up to his athletic promise. In order to do that, the veteran receiver believes truthful, critical film study is needed.
“I want him to see himself on film because the first step honestly is being honest with yourself because everybody can say all they want to say but if you don’t believe it then you’re going to continue to do whatever you feel like you’re doing that’s right,” Jennings said. “So I want him to see what he does great and I want him to see what he doesn’t do so great and I want him to be honest with that.”
Jennings said he does that with himself and even went so far as to apologize to teammates after he felt he wasn’t performing well while blocking in the running game.
Patterson’s laid-back attitude can translate as apathy, but Jennings isn’t sure that’s the case.
“He definitely wants to learn, but I think he has to show it more. I think his demeanor sometimes, he gets misjudged because of his demeanor and how he approaches things,” Jennings said. “But he’s going to get it. He’s going to get it.”
Jennings plans to be sure of that.
“As long as I’m here, he will not fail,” Jennings said. “He’s not going to fail. I refuse to allow that to happen and he has to refuse to allow to that happen.”
Jennings ‘refuses’ to let Patterson ‘fail’
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