Sunday may go a long way in determining the future of Cordarrelle Patterson with the Vikings.
Through their first three games, rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs was the game-day deactivation among the six-deep receiver corps. Due to an injury to Johnson, Diggs was activated in the Minnesota Vikings’ last game at Denver.
With Wright injured as well and not on the field, it was an opportunity for Patterson to potentially step up and be a bigger part of the offense. Instead, he was targeted just once, catching a 9-yard pass.
In that same game, Diggs was targeted 10 times, catching six passes for 87 yards. Fellow backup Adam Thielen was targeted eight times, catching six passes for 70 yards.
What has made the Curious Case of Cordarrelle so strange is that he has the talent to be a difference-maker in the NFL. However, the 10 targets Diggs got in the Denver game equaled the numbers of targets Patterson has combined in his last 10 games – the final six from 2014 and the first four of this season. That is hard to fathom for a player who, as a rookie, was one of the most electrifying players in the league.
Over the last 10 games, Patterson’s contribution to the offense has been so marginalized that he has become little more than a backup linebacker who plays on special teams. He is a kick returner in an era where most kicks aren’t returned. Not what the Vikings were expecting when they traded back into the first round to get a pick from the New England Patriots in 2013.
When Norv Turner took over the Vikings offense, Patterson was coming off his rookie year and, for any longtime coach, having a multi-faceted player at his disposal was a Swiss Army knife in his coaching toolbox. But it’s clear that Turner’s offense doesn’t appear to be an ideal fit for Patterson’s skill set.
It may not come to a head Sunday against Kansas City. If Wallace or Wright or Johnson can’t play, Patterson will be on the game-day actives.
But what happens when the Vikings have six healthy wide receivers – Wallace, Johnson, Wright, Patterson, Thielen and Diggs?
To date, the Vikings haven’t had six active wide receivers on the roster on game day. Diggs was inactive the first three games. Johnson was inactive against Denver.
Will the Vikings trim a player at another position to keep six wide receivers on the roster? Marcus Sherels can return kickoffs. So can Diggs and Thielen. Presumably, so can about a half-dozen other players.
In his last 10 games, Patterson has been targeted for 10 passes. Is that justification for keeping him on the active roster when there are other players who have clearly been used much more effectively in Norv Turner’s offense?
Judgment Day will come when all six Vikings wide receivers on the 53-man roster are healthy and good to go on any given Sunday. Turner stated on KFAN radio that Diggs will be active Sunday against the Chiefs. Johnson and Wright have indicated they will be ready to return to action against Kansas City.
If past history is an indication of future results, if Wallace and Wright are both good to go, somebody is going to have to be deactivated Sunday.
It likely won’t be Diggs.
Will it be Thielen? He’s done nothing to warrant being benched and has been a big contributor on special teams.
It would seem that when the full contingent of receivers is available to be sorted and selected, the day is going to come that Patterson is the odd man out.
That day may be this Sunday.