Thursday, August 25, 2016

cordarrelle patterson

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image courtesy of vikings.com

 

2016 will be Cordarrelle Patterson’s make or break year as a wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings as Head Coach Mike Zimmer pointed out at a recent NFL owners meeting.

“If he wants to be something other than just a returner, this is the year he has to do it. If he wants to be a NFL wide receiver, this is the time,” Zimmer said. “A lot of guys grow up slower than others, at different times, in different stages. Guys kind of blossom in their third or fourth year. I don’t know if it’s going to happen — I hope it does, for our sake. I’m not trying to make excuses for him, but he wasn’t at Tennessee very long. There’s a lot of factors: I don’t think he was quite really ready when he came in the NFL. You’re always hoping — because he has the talent to do it. But there’s guys that do and guys that don’t. Right now, he’s right on the fence.”

Last offseason, Patterson opted not to do extra training when he had the opportunity to work with and be mentored by a Hall of Fame wide receiver. Consequently, his 2015 season was a huge disappointment after being relegated to only kick return duties. The former first-round pick caught only two balls on just two targeted attempts all season. This offseason, Patterson is taking his craft more seriously by working out with quarterback guru and route-running coach Steve Calhoun of Orange County California.

favorite first round memories
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The 2016 NFL Draft is less than a month away, making now the perfect time to reflect on prior draft day experiences. To celebrate the peak of the offseason, I’ve asked the Vikings Territory team to share their favorite first round memories and recall the one moment in Minnesota Vikings draft history that stands out in their minds.

What’s your favorite Minnesota Vikings draft night (Round 1) memory?

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cordarrelle

Cordarrelle Patterson is the best kick returner in the NFL. We expected more after trading up to 29 to draft the uber raw product out of Tennessee in 2013, but here we are. The new NFL rule change moving touchbacks from the 20 to the 25 will have a big impact on where Flash’s bread is buttered. We talk about that as well as Mike Zimmer’s comments at the NFL Owners Meetings, 5th-year option decisions for the trio of 2013 first round picks (Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes & Cordarrelle), what loading up on offensive line really means for the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings, and a look towards the rapidly approaching NFL Draft.

All that and other “Josh Doctson, No Matter What” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

Mike Wallace's future with the Vikings
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The promise of production never materialized for Mike Wallace. Last spring, the Minnesota Vikings brought the speedster to Winter Park with the hope that he’d give Norv Turner’s offense a legitimate deep threat. But Wallace didn’t just struggle down the field; he hardly produced. Despite being targeted 72 times in 2015, Wallace caught just 39 passes for 473 yards and two touchdowns. His yards per catch totals fell to 12.1, the lowest mark of his career, and he averaged just 29.6 yards per game.

Wallace’s struggles go deeper than the receiver’s on-field abilities, though. Poor offensive line play, Teddy Bridgewater‘s nonexistent deep ball, and the emergence of Stefon Diggs limited his opportunities, especially as the deep threat he was meant to be. Now, general manager Rick Spielman faces a difficult decision on Wallace’s contract, one that’ll inform the team’s draft strategy in April.

Reports earlier this week indicate Spielman’s desire to work with Wallace on a pay cut. If Wallace stays in Minnesota at his current price, the Vikings will owe him $11.5 million at the start of the 2016 league year. And if a deal can’t be reached, Spielman can cut Wallace with no dead money; a favorable deal that makes drafting a wide receiver more realistic next month. Clearly, Spielman wants Wallace in purple and gold next season. But what about the VT team? What do they want?

If you’re in Rick Spielman’s shoes, do you bring Wallace back in 2016 or cut him in the offseason?

Vikings Wonderlic Test
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The turf at Lucas Oil Stadium is a proving ground for hundreds of college football players at the NFL’s annual Scouting Combine. There, potential first round draft picks and sleepers alike try to sprint, jump, and interview their way onto an NFL roster. It’s the blazing 40-yard dash times and impressive bounds that grab the headlines, but often, it’s their work behind closed doors that boosts (or hurts) a player’s stock.

Team interviews can make or break a prospect’s reputation with organizations. Maxx Williams, the former Golden Gopher tight end, reportedly came across as selfish in combine interviews last year, and his attitude may have turned a few teams off in the process. Eric Kendricks, meanwhile, was described as someone who could walk into a defensive huddle as a rookie and immediately gain the respect of veterans.

Sometimes, the fastest, tallest, and strongest players find themselves falling in the draft. All the weight and speed in the world can’t replace one of football’s most important requirements — cognitive ability. It’s why the Wonderlic Test, as parodied as it may be, remains a crucial aspect of the NFL Draft process and a key into the minds of gridiron greats.

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