Remember when Cordarrelle Patterson topped NFL.com’s “Making the Leap” list last year? The website envisioned a 70-catch, 1,100-yard season from Patterson, and described him as a combination of Devin Hester, Demaryius Thomas, Julio Jones, Spiderman and the Road Runner. With his untapped ability and rare combination of size and speed, fans, analysts, and other players expected Patterson to truly “make the leap” in 2014.
If anything he, jumped backwards.
Patterson finished the year with 33 catches for for 384 yards and one touchdown — far below lofty projections — and even lost his starting job to Charles Johnson, a practice squad player who previously spent time in Green Bay and Cleveland. It was a disappointing season for Patterson, but offensive coordinator Norv Turner recently told reporters that the third-year receiver is “in the mix” for an important role with the offense heading into 2015.
The reason Patterson’s only fighting for playing time and not enjoying a starring role? That would be the aforementioned Johnson, who burst onto the scene after a solid end to the 2014 season. He led the team with 47 targets, 25 receptions and 415 receiving yards over the last seven weeks, with Turner calling him “far and away” their best receiver.
Johnson has won over his offensive coordinator and even general manager Rick Spielman, and now, the national media is taking notice — he’s No. 20 on this year’s “Making the Leap” rankings and a prime candidate to truly break out as the Vikings’ X-receiver. The hype is officially real, and all signs from minicamp point to an exciting year from Johnson, but it’s too early to proclaim him the next Josh Gordon (on the field, of course). Let’s hope his appearance on the list isn’t a curse like it was for Patterson.
What other NFC North receivers are poised for breakout seasons in 2015? Find out after the jump: