Asked on PFT Live Tuesday if Patterson might not be with the Vikings in 2015, Zimmer left little doubt.
“No. There’s no chance whatsoever he won’t be (in Minnesota),” Zimmer said.
Patterson struggles in his second NFL season gave fuel to the rumor mongers that the team might look to move him and gave teams consideration to placing a call to see if that was a possibility. But the Vikings know the talent is there. Bringing it out with production is the challenge.
As a rookie, Patterson was third on the Vikings in receptions (45) and receiving yards (469), and tied for first in touchdown catches with four. However, last year, he lost his starting job to a player, Charles Johnson, that wasn’t even in training camp with the Vikings. Patterson’s production regressed, as he was fourth in catches (31), fourth in receiving yards (384) and had only one touchdown catch.
Still, the Vikings believe with a mix of focus, dedication and matching his talents to Norv Turner’s scheme, Patterson can rebound in 2015.
“Cordarrelle is a young, emerging player that was in his third offense, third coordinator in three years,” Zimmer said. “Quite frankly, we need to do a good job of figuring how we can use him better and he has to do a better job of understanding where he’s supposed to be, the routes he’s running, everything. I really like Cordarrelle a lot; he’s a great kid, he’s humble, he wants to be good. All those things are important to me. Anybody that’s like that, that’s hungry, I have a lot of affinity for.”
Patterson said during Super Bowl week that this offseason is the most important of his life, and he said he was going to work out with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in California. Receiver Greg Jennings also offered to work with Patterson during the offseason, but the Vikings released Greg Jennings after they traded for deep threat Mike Wallace.
Patterson is still expected to be the Vikings’ main kick returner and he has excelled in that role. His 25.6-yard average on returns in 2014 was seventh among those that had 20 or more returns, and his 32.4-yard average as a rookie in 2013 led the league.
As for his starting job? He’ll have to earn that back, but that competition will take place in Minnesota as a member of the Vikings.
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