Cordarrelle Patterson went from breakout player candidate last offseason to mostly a sideline observer by the end of the season.
Patterson has been one of the most talked-about Minnesota Vikings this year. He has the talent, for sure. But coaches talked about his route-running and consistency needing to improve.
So, how about now, four days in training camp practices?
“So far he’s done well. These (last) two days he’s been impressive. Today is a new day; we’ll see how he does today,” Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday before the team’s final practice before a day off. “I’m hopeful that today is just as good as yesterday and yesterday was as good as the day before. I don’t know that he has turned the corner yet, but he is definitely kind of rounding it.”
For a generally honest Zimmer, that’s at least encouraging news for Vikings fans, especially after Patterson ended the season with only 15 snaps combined in the last two games.
However, to date in training camp, just as was the case in organized team activities and minicamp, Patterson’s opportunities with the first-team offense have been extremely limited. That begs the question of how he and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater can build a rapport without them actually working together much this year.
“You just have to take advantage of those reps when he’s in there because everything isn’t always timing,” Bridgewater said. “Sometimes, we throw to areas and you just have to be in the right place. As long as he’s executing what’s been asked of him when he’s in there, we shouldn’t have an issue if he’s in there with me or with Shaun (Hill), or Mike (Kafka) or Taylor (Heinicke).”
Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson are the starting receivers. Jarius Wright has been used in the slot more than Patterson or anyone else. For now, it appears Patterson will have to spend time earning back playing time, and that may be just in a limited/specialty role.
“The good thing about Cordarrelle, he’s in a situation where we can move him around a lot,” Bridgewater said. “He’s going to be very helpful for this team and that entire wide receiver unit. Those guys are getting better each and every day. There’s great leadership in that room and I’m excited for those guys.”
“I am going to push him more today, yes,” Zimmer said of Daniels. “He is going to get some more reps. He feels good physically other than the conditioning, so we are trying to accelerate his conditioning a little bit.”
“He is lot less raw then we thought. He has really been impressive, honestly,” Zimmer said. “That’s why I want to see him against some of the other competition. He is a tremendous athlete with very, very long arms. I asked one of the coaches about him the other day on what he thought and he was very, very positive about him.”