Saturday, January 31, 2015
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cordarrelle patterson

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As far as the Pro Bowl is concerned it appeared that Cordarrelle Patterson’s explosive rookie season was poorly timed.  The NFL has eliminated kickoffs during the, umm, “contest” and that goes into effect for the first time this year.  That, in turn, means they returned the return specialist position from the Pro Bowl roster.

Patterson was pretty easily the NFL’s best kick returner all season long, but the coaching staff limited his offensive snaps until later in the season where he showed he could be just as explosive with the ball in his hands.  With Antonio Brown needing to be replaced on the Pro Bowl roster, Patterson joins Adrian Peterson for the honor as an alternate, and should also get a chance to return some punts.

The teams will not be split up by conference this year and will instead be determined via a special drafting process.

Patterson has some stiff competition for Offensive Rookie of the Year, mainly Keenan Allen and Eddie Lacy, but the Pro Bowl nod is a nice way of honoring a rookie that broke numerous records and showed dominance in multiple areas of the game.

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Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has helped the Vikings offense in his rookie season both on offense and special teams.  The Vikings gave a steep bounty to New England in exchange for the 29th overall selection in the 2013 Draft, but the trade got done and they were able to make Patterson their third first round selection of the day, and he immediately injected excitement into the offensive and special teams playbooks.

Thus far, Patterson has paid dividends to the Vikings in the form of 40 catches, 430 receiving yards, and three receiving touchdowns in addition to 50 yards and a touchdown on seven rushing attempts.  His addition, combined with the signing of Greg Jennings, created more legitimacy to the Vikings group of receivers which created a no-excuses scenario for the Vikings to finalize their evaluation of Christian Ponder.

In addition to his work on offense, Patterson has pretty easily been this season’s best kick returner, and the results are really showing.  Patterson has returned 36 kicks for 1,199 yards (a Vikings rookie record) with two more touchdowns.  As of late, opponents have sacrificed field position by kicking away from Patterson all together, which has set the offense up with huge advantages throughout the games.

Much of the pre-Draft debate surrounding the Vikings included names like Keenan Allen, DeAndre Hopkins, Tavon Austin, and Patterson.  Allen has arguably been the best wide out, and possibly offensive player, this class had to offer and some of his recent quotes have raised eyebrows within the Minnesota fanbase.

Allen said his agent told him he had a “guarantee” the Vikings would select him in the first round, despite rumors that his poorly timed knee injury had doomed his draft stock.  The injury caused him to push back workout dates and eventually produced an underwhelming 40-yard dash time.  Allen indeed tumbled on Draft weekend and he ended up going to San Diego in the third round.  He was drafted 76th overall and was the eighth wide receiver taken in the class.

This season Allen has done wonders for the Chargers who clearly suffered in the absence of Vincent Jackson and needed a big, athletic wide out that could out-run and out-jump opposing defenders on a regular basis.  Allen has 63 catches for 931 yards and seven touchdowns.  He has done alright on special teams, as well, with 10 punt returns for a 8.4 yard average.

“It hurt me. Now it’s hurting them,” Allen said of the teams that passed on him. “It is what it is. I don’t dwell on it.”

The Vikings surely aren’t disappointed with the return they are getting on their Patterson investment, or any of their first round selections for that matter.  Still, Allen has been an all-out stud as a rookie, and one has to wonder how this all will look with a few more seasons in the past.  One thing that is for sure, the Chargers got a better value snagging Allen that late in the Draft, and they didn’t have to trade away additional picks to move up and get him.

How about you?  With hindsight being what it is, would you have done anything different if you were Rick Spielman and had a time machine programed for April of 2013?  Let me know in the comments section.

Well, that was a crazy game.  It didn’t mean a whole lot, but here are ten random things you should know following all the chaos:

1.  The Vikings are currently slotted to have the 4th overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.  Houston, St. Louis (via Washington), and Atlanta are the only teams currently slotted to pick in front of the Vikings.  Assuming the Vikings lose to the Eagles this week, they should end up with the third slot a week from now, because Atlanta and Washington play each other this week.  Houston will play Indianapolis.

2.  The Ravens and Vikings saw six lead changes in the fourth quarter on Sunday.  That is an NFL record, officially making it one of the craziest endings in history.

3.  As if the double fist pump by the official upon announcing the Ravens final touchdown on Sunday wasn’t enough, the refs’ performances from Sunday are under heavy scrutiny.  Almost every Vikings coach, player, fan, and media member have stated publically that the game was handled in ridiculous fashion.  Leslie Frazier said he got a call from the NFL on Monday, and that it was unsolicited, so it wouldn’t be too big of a surprise to hear that others higher up the chain also felt our team was at an artificial disadvantage.

4.  Adrian Peterson immediately took to Twitter following the game to call out the refs and said Ravens fans are a no-good snowball-throwing fanbase.  Both Peterson and Frazier have mentioned getting hit by snowballs in Baltimore.  I’m not sure that calling out an entire city was Peterson’s smartest move, especially after a loss, but I could certainly understand the frustration.  Hey, at least these next two years playing outdoors in Minnesota are sure to be void of drunken fans that think it is acceptable to throw… umm, uh oh.

5.  Peterson gave us all a scare when he went to the ground on Sunday and didn’t get up, but instead lay on the ground flailing around in obvious agony.  Peterson will see a foot specialist soon, but the good news is that they have yet to find any major breaks, tears, or other horrible things.  The team, in my opinion, should still consider shutting him down for the season, but it seems unlikely that this foot injury will have any impact on the 2014 season.

6.  The crazy day didn’t end at the stadium.  Vikings players took to Twitter to complain that their team plane was sitting on the runway when a catering truck struck the plane, causing them to seek an alternate aircraft.  A plane had to come in from Detroit to pick them, delaying their takeoff by about three hours, and it just seemed like a fitting end to the day.  Somewhere, regarding caterers, Randy Moss is saying “Told Ya’ll.”

7.  Peterson is big news, but he isn’t the only injury plaguing this team right now, and the list is actually quite lengthy.  The Vikings have officially placed tight end Kyle Rudolph on injured reserve and wide out Greg Childs on the PUP list.  Tight end John Carlson will have to pass concussion tests this week in order to continue filling in for Rudolph.  Toby Gerhart has filled in nicely for Adrian Peterson at times this season, but a strained hamstring suffered in Baltimore could slow him up a bit.  Xavier Rhodes has really started to look like a top-tier cornerback in recent weeks, but he is also hobbled from a sprained ankle.

8.  While the injuries are stacking up, at least one promising young player is on the mend and appears close to returning.  Safety Harrison Smith is rumored to be set to return this week.  The big-hitting safety could breath some life into this defense upon his return, but it is too little too late, and one has to wonder if the Vikings shouldn’t just keep him out and focus on being more successful next year.

9.  This team is discovering some of it’s less experienced talent is looking to be quite talented as the get more experience (got that?  good.).  Cordarrelle Patterson had the best overall performance of his young career and is looking like one of the best rookie wide outs in the NFL, and is certainly the most versatile.  Andrew Sendejo got his first career interception on Sunday, had a second called back on that Chad Greenway interference call, and should easily be a starting safety on this team moving forward even after Smith returns.  Xavier Rhodes may have been hurt on Sunday, but not before he broke the record of Orlando Thomas for passes defended by a rookie with 20.  Audie Cole led the Vikings with 13 tackles and had another decent showing in his third consecutive start.

10. The Vikings are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.  Just in case you were still holding out hope.

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Prediction #5: Cordarrelle Patterson wins rookie of the year.

Vikings rookie receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has a lot to prove in the NFL, but all of the skills and talent needed to do so. With his unbelievable speed and quickness, good hands, and return capabilities, He should be able to become a big time receiver in this league. The only huge knock on him is his lack of experience in Division I football, having only played one year at Tennessee. The Vikings traded back into the first round for a reason; They knew talent when they saw it. Patterson has had an okay preseason thus far, although I am a little upset about Jerome Simpson playing ahead of him. I definitely think that will change throughout the course of the season, if not week one. Patterson almost took the opening kickoff of the preseason for a touchdown as well.

No matter where his spot ends up being when we open up against Detroit, I expect Patterson to emerge quickly. His route running still needs some work, and I really feel Ponder and Patterson needed to develop more in-game chemistry over the course of the preseason, but there’s no doubt in my mind that chemistry will develop quickly. I think Patterson will finish in the area of 60 catches, 760 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 2 kick return touchdowns. He is going to be a very fun player to watch this year, and I have a feeling we’ll see some spectacular plays.

Some of the noteable guys from last years squad that didn’t make my cut are: Brandon Burton, Larry Dean, Tyrone Mckenzie, Matt Asiata, Joe Berger, and Stephen Burton.

MBT and M Sherels won a spot on my list after a solid game Thursday night against the Titans.

Greg Childs is on the PUP list until week 6, after that he will either go on IR for the rest of the season or he could take a roster spot from Joe Webb or MBT.

Special Teams (3)

Jeff Locke, Blair Walsh, Cullen Loeffler

QB (3)

Christain Ponder, Matt Cassel, McCleod Bethel-Thompson

FB and RB (4)

Jerome Felton, Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Joe Banyard (keeping the seat warm for Felton the first 3 weeks will be Zach Line. The Vikings have 3 weeks to choose between Line or Banyard)

WR (5)

Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson, Jarius Wright, Corrdarrelle Patterson, and Joe Webb

OL  and TE (11)

Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, Rhett Ellison, Matt Kalil, Charlie Johnson, John Sullivan, Brandon Fusco, Phil Loadholt, Jeff Baca, Demarcus Love, and Seth Olsen (keeping the seat warm for D Love while he is suspended will be Kevin Murphy or Brandon Keith, too close for me to call) Jeff Baca or Seth Osen will play backup center. Bad snaps by Joe Berger in preseason cost him his job.

DE and DL (9)

Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Sharrif Floyd, Brian Robinson, Everson Griffen, Letroy Guion, Fred Evan, Christain Ballard, and D’Aundre Reed. (Keeping in the seat warm until Ballard returns is Everett Dawkins or Chase Baker, too close for me to call)

Linbackers (7)

Chad Greenway, Erin Henderson, Desmond Bishop, Marvin Mitchell, Audie Cole, Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti.

DB’s (11)

Chris Cook, Josh Robinson, Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith, Jamarca Sanford, Andrew Sendejo, AJ Jefferson, Bobby Felder, Marcus Sherels, Robert Blanton and Mistral Raymond.

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