Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer thinks the expectations and big talk surrounding Patterson were part of the reason for his second-year struggles. He might have started to think that the game was going to be easier than it actually was, and that hurt him.
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“I think one of the biggest problems that Cordarrelle had last year was he’s going to have this breakout year and he’s going to be this, and I think all those things maybe affected him a little bit,” Zimmer said at the NFL Combine on Thursday. “And he thought how easy this game would be and how easy it was going to go. And it didn’t quite go that way. So I’d just like to just keep our heads down and work. Let’s not worry about what everybody else is saying about us, and that’s kind of how I feel with this football team right now. Because I know that the surprise team and this and that, and all this. None of it matters.”
The question then becomes whether or not it is in Patterson’s personality to be able to just put his head down and work. He enjoys being in the limelight. Zimmer is not sure if it’s in Patterson’s makeup to just put his head down and work, but says he is going to have to.
“(Patterson)’s going to have to have it in his mentality in order to succeed,” Zimmer said. “He’s going to have to. I know he likes the limelight and all that stuff. That’s fine, but if you’re not playing that stuffs going to fade away fast.”
Zimmer helped put together an offseason plan for the young wide receiver as a way to get him working on all the right things. So far everything has been going good, but there are still things they want Patterson to do.
“There’s still some things we want him to do, but he’s out working so we’ll see,” Zimmer said. “The big thing with him is going to be, like I said before, a lot of it’s going to be up to him, of understanding what he needs to continue to do and going through with it to become the player he can be.”