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.