Patterson progressing with finer points

Cordarrelle Patterson has all the athletic talent to be a good NFL receiver, but precision lacked in his route-running. So far this year, he is doing “really well” and running good routes, head coach Mike Zimmer said.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was one of the team’s most inconsistent players during the 2014 season. He would show flashes of his talent and make very good plays about half the time he was on the field. But then came the mistakes that led to missed opportunities.

Coaches pointed out throughout the season last year that Patterson needed to be more consistent with his route running. He struggled getting off the line in bump-and-run coverage, he would cut his routes off short or go too far, or he would drift off a little when he needed to be tight.

These little inconsistencies do not always seem like much, but every little bit can disrupt the timing of the routes. When the timing is thrown off it is much harder for a quarterback to complete passes to that receiver and it ultimately makes it more difficult for the quarterback to trust that receiver.

This is what happened to Patterson a year ago and he lost his starting job because of it. Not only that, but he found himself at the bottom of the Vikings’ depth chart.

This offseason, Patterson has been focused on rededicating himself on improving his game. Head coach Mike Zimmer even set him up with a mentor to help him out. And so far Zimmer has been happy with what he has seen.

“He’s done well,” Zimmer said. “He’s really done well. He’s running routes good, he’s working hard, so we just need him to continue to do those things. And continue to keep getting consistent and keep improving. I’ve been impressed with the things that he’s done.”

Patterson is now in his third season with the Vikings after they traded back into the first round to draft him in 2013. It will be a defining year for him on how his NFL career goes. He will likely start the offseason practices behind Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson and possibly even Jarius Wright on the Vikings depth chart.

If he is able to continue to improve the small little details of his game, though, his natural athletic ability should allow him to quickly climb the depth chart. And if he is able to do that and gain back the trust of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, the two could be a lethal combination for the Vikings for years to come.

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