Minnesota has some depth at wide receiver this season, and six main guys are standing out as major competitors for the final 53-man roster: veteran Mike Wallace, Cordarrelle Patterson, Adam Thielen, Jarius Wright, Charles Johnson and rookie Stefon Diggs. Although the general belief is that the Vikings will end up hanging onto all six guys, we decided to have a discussion. If Minnesota only keeps five receivers, which player doesn’t make the cut?
Adam: Cordarrelle Patterson
Wallace and Johnson are totally safe. Wright is too good to consider, despite the fact that he may not be a Viking after his contract year. Diggs is a recent investment that has no chance of going anywhere, especially with the proficiency he has displayed so far in training camp and preseason. The decision really comes down to Patterson and Thielen, which is an incredibly difficult decision to make.
I loved Patterson coming out of college and thought he displayed a lot of traits of a first-round receiver, despite being raw. However, I’m losing patience with the “raw” label he has been given and feel like he has even regressed under the current coaching staff. I don’t see the “those legs never stop churning” efforts that I noticed on his college tape anymore and have to wonder if he’ll even get a chance to prove his worth as a true receiver before his rookie contract has expired. He is a wild card at this point, and sticking with him over a guy like Thielen could be a gamble.
Thielen, on the other hand, has greatly exceeded expectations and has a knack for being exactly in the right spot at exactly the right time. He is speedy, displays dependable catching abilities, and has tremendous value on special teams.
If I had to cut one of these guys right here and right now, Adam Thielen is the better football player. I would rather cut Patterson and have him make that decision look stupid by succeeding elsewhere than keep him and have me look stupid right here in Minnesota.
Either way, a bursting depth chart at this position is a nice problem to have and I hope they decide to carry six. If not, then Rick Spielman has a dandy of a decision on his hands that carries real-life ramifications unlike this little experiment of ours.
Brian: Adam Thielen
When all is said and done, I believe the Vikings keep 6 WRs and they all stay. I say, if any of them get cut, it’s Thielen. He’s a valuable player given his ability to play several roles but he probably has limited upside as well. The first three are set. Diggs is a rookie they won’t take a chance on cutting and, as frustrating as he can be, they can’t give up on Patterson’s potential yet.
Brent: Cordarrelle Patterson
Although I’m pretty sure they keep six WRs (Didn’t Norv say they would?), my one cut would be Cordarrelle Patterson. It would sting cutting a player with so much raw talent, but Patterson seems to be a one-trick pony so far, and I question his motivation to work hard enough to get better as an all-around wide out. The assumption might be that Thielen is the odd man out, but his ability to play different roles on special teams makes him too versatile to cut. Also, from the looks of it, there is no way you can sneak Stefon Diggs through waivers to the practice squad, nor do I think you’d want to try.
Lindsey: Cordarrelle Patterson
I also think the Vikings will probably keep all six receivers, although I would be fine with seeing them cut Patterson. I boarded the CP train along with everyone else his rookie year. The raw talent was clear, and it seemed that it would just be a short waiting game before the other part, the technical part, would catch up with Patterson’s athleticism. And yet, we’re still waiting. The problem for me isn’t necessarily about talent—or lack thereof—but about Patterson’s attitude. The perception is that he doesn’t see the need to improve or be mentored in the technicalities. He comes across as un-coachable, and that is something that we all know Mike Zimmer won’t have any patience for. At this point in the game, I don’t see things with Patterson changing. I know the other player “on the bubble” per se is Adam Thielen, and I believe that Thielen is a much bigger asset to the roster, and to the locker room, than Patterson. Thielen’s work ethic is incredible, and he’s demonstrated a ton of versatility. If given the choice, I would take Thielen over Patterson any day of the week.
Carl: Cordarrelle Patterson
Keeping six receivers isn’t the norm in the NFL, but the potential and versatility of this group makes the idea of keeping six wideouts a must-do situation for the Vikings. Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson, Jarius Wright, Cordarrelle Patterson and Stefon Diggs are locks to make the final roster. I’m a huge Adam Thielen fan as well, and there is just no way under purple creation that you can cut a guy with that much special teams value and talent. He is a reliable blocker on the punt return unit, he can return punts in his own right, even block punts, and… he also collected 12 tackles last season on the kick coverage unit. No, I wouldn’t cut any of them. However, with that said, I did talk about finding a trade partner/value for Patterson before the draft. All I’m saying now is, if the Vikings can’t keep six, why not get what you can for Patterson or maybe Wright?
OK, If I have to cut one, it is Patterson. His taunting penalty versus the Buccaneers proves he cannot stay out of Zimmer’s dog house.
Andy: Cordarrelle Patterson
Pretty obvious answer, but even though Cordarrelle is still on “Upside Scholarship,” he’s clearly the weakest of the six at the moment. Sure, it was nice that he scored a touchdown against the Bucs after running an awkward route, but he followed it up with an inexcusable taunting penalty where Zimmer may have deported him had this been the regular season. Everyone and their mother knows this was the most important offseason of CP’s football career (complete with a mystery coach that got beaten to the point where no one cared anymore), but frankly we haven’t seen the dividends of the renewed “focus and work ethic” in training camp or preseason so far. It’s been the same story, different day with Cordarrelle.
That being said, I don’t think the Vikings would outright release him. I could see them carrying six receivers through the season just out of spite and not wanting to give up on Patterson. Also some team in need of receiver help (Carolina? Cleveland?) would likely give up a late-round conditional pick for him. He’s streaky, aloof, and unproductive, but someone would still trade for him. Teams and fanbases LOVE potential.