Film study: Patterson’s potential

Consistency is the word consistently used as Cordarrelle Patterson’s weakness, but there are plenty of plays that demonstrate he has all the athleticism needed to be a good receiver. We look at the film to show the many skills he has demonstrated in his two seasons.

Of the Minnesota Vikings’ three first-round draft picks in 2013, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson may be the most intriguing. He is an outstanding athlete but was considered a very raw talent who would take time to develop into an NFL-caliber receiver. Still, the Vikings gave up their second, third, fourth and seventh-round picks to trade with the New England Patriots to move back into the first round and draft him.

That sounds like a lot to give up, especially when the second and third rounds will usually produce a starter. The fourth still has pretty good odds to do so as well. However, if Patterson is able to work out all the problems he has had off the field he seemingly has the ability to be worth the trade.

Patterson played in all 16 games his rookie season but was kept to a very limited role for the first part of the season. The coaching staff wanted to make sure that they eased him into the offense and did not give him more than he could handle. As Patterson continued to learn more, the Vikings gave him an increasingly bigger role.

By the end of his rookie season Patterson was making big plays almost every week and appeared to be a star in the making. Things didn’t change during the offseason, as multiple NFL experts predicted that Patterson would have a breakout season in his second year of the NFL. That, however, was not the case.

The wide receiver would seemingly take a step backwards in his second season. He started out the season as one of the Vikings’ starting receivers but eventually lost his starting job after a lack of productivity. There were even three games late in the season when Patterson didn’t even have the ball thrown his way.

The coaching staff said Patterson struggled learning little things, such as gaining separation from the defender off the line of scrimmage and running his routes consistently. A lot of the passes thrown in the NFL rely on consistency and timing, so when a receiver cannot run the same route consistently, the timing gets thrown off with the quarterback and trust issues start to develop.

Patterson’s development has been a little rough, but it might not all be his fault. He has not had an offensive system that he could develop in and be comfortable with at any point in his career. He played junior college ball for two years, but after that he played at Tennessee for one year, then had Bill Musgrave as an offensive coordinator for one year, and then had Norv Turner for an offensive coordinator.

2015 will be the first time he has any consistency between offenses since he was in junior college. All that inconsistency can be hard on a young player still learning how to play the position. So if he were ever going to show signs of improvement, 2015 would be a good opportunity.

Viking Update takes a look at Patterson’s play on the field while wearing the purple and gold.

Play No. 1
The return game is one area that Patterson has had a big impact on since he arrived in Minnesota. His speed and athleticism show in the return game and he can be a big play waiting to happen. These plays are able to change the outcome of a game, and that is a dangerous weapon for a team to have.

He didn’t have any return touchdowns in 2014, however, so this play comes back from Week 8 during his rookie season. He showcases his speed, vision, and even a little strength as he has to break some arm tackles.

There is no specific reason why the success he has during his rookie season returning the ball did not translate into the next season. But one reason could be there was a lot of turnover on the special teams depth chart and a lot of young and inexperienced players were asked to step up.

It is not yet clear if the Vikings are going to continue to have Patterson as a returner or have him work specifically as a wide receiver, but the coaching staff has to be happy to know they have a player like Patterson if they ever need a big special teams play.

Play No. 2
This next play is one that demonstrates Patterson’s versatility. He starts out lined up on the outside as a wide receiver and shifted into the backfield to line up as a running back. He is then able to quickly hit the hole and get up field in a hurry.

Once he gets up field he has enough momentum and speed to break through a couple weak arm tackles. He then shows off his acceleration by staying ahead of the defenders even though the arm tackles slowed him down. Patterson had the awareness and vision to cut all across the field to avoid defenders and reach the end zone.

Having a versatile player such as Patterson can help out any team. Having the ability to line him up all over the field can cause matchup problems for opposing teams, so if he is able to work out the problems he has and is on the field for a majority of the plays he can be used as a dangerous weapon for the Vikings.

Play No. 3
This next play shows that Patterson has the ability to catch a ball in traffic. This is important because it is not too often that wide receivers run open in the NFL and a lot of the passes are contested.

Not only is this a good catch, but it was also a good route run by Patterson. Right off the snap he was able to get to the inside of the defender and then he was able to get to the yard marker that he needed to get to for the first down. That way he could just catch the ball, secure it and go down and still be able to get a first down.

These are the type of plays that the Vikings want to continue to see Patterson make. He runs a good route, which was very important since the play was a timing route, and is able to make a catch with a defender all over him. If he continues to make plays like this, he should be able to climb the depth chart.

Play No. 4
In this play Patterson shows a good feeling for where the sideline is and a good ability to keep is feet in and compete for the catch. He is streaking down the sidelines and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater underthrows him and he is able to stop and come back to the ball.

Once the ball gets to him, he is able to get the ball into his hands, bring it in to his body to secure it and then keep his feet in bounds. This is a very difficult play because Patterson was originally facing away from the sidelines but had to twist around towards it so he could get the ball. Because of that, he could not see where the sideline was and had to just go by feelings and instinct.

Because he made the catch, it shows that he has a good feel for the field and good instincts. Being able to catch the ball away from his body is a good sign because that is always what coaches want players to do. Patterson has showed plenty of promise in plays such as this one, but he just needs to do it on a more consistent basis.

Play No. 5
In this final play, Patterson shows that he can be a tough receiver. There are not a lot of players who are willing to go over the middle of the field and catch the ball when they know they are going to get hit, but that is exactly what the big-bodied Patterson does in this play.

It is a short timing route over the middle of the field, where Patterson is delivered the ball right in front of the linebacker so he had to know he was going to get hit. But he still went over, caught the ball and was able to maintain possession of the ball even after a solid hit right after he caught it.

Toughness is a trait of his that might get overlooked a bit because of the easy-going, carefree attitude that he has. But it is still an important part of his game that is sure to be taken into consideration when the coaches are putting together their depth chart.

Patterson is still a very young player (24 years old) who has a lot to learn, but he has shown plenty of promise. He just needs to be able to buckle down, focus and work hard on the technicalities of his game. If he is able to do that, he has a chance to turn things around in 2015 and have a productive season.

Viking Update Top Stories