General NewsSpeculation

Cordarrelle Patterson Meets With Mike Zimmer

After a Week One performance that made it appear as if utility man Cordarrelle Patterson was ready to build on his impressive rookie season, something changed and he has been fading into the background of this Vikings team with haste.

Speculation has been everywhere regarding Patterson’s sudden dropoff in production and playing time.  There have been theories about undisclosed injuries or personality issues or clashes with the coaches.  The most popular theory, and the one that makes the most sense, is that Patterson is still the project we thought he was when he was drafted and that he needs to improve his route running before he can expect an increase in playing time.

The release of Jerome Simpson opened the door for Charles Johnson in Minnesota, but nobody can honestly tell you they expected Johnson to surpass Patterson on the depth chart at the time of his signing.  But that is exactly what has happened and it is clear, despite public endorsements of Patterson from Zimmer, and offensive coordinator Norv Turner clearly prefers Johnson in the lead wide out role.

Patterson has opened up at times throughout this frustrating season, previously expressing that he is not having as much fun in his sophomore season, but he recently took his concerns straight to the man in charge of the Vikings roster.

“We had a good, little heart-to-heart talk this morning,” Patterson said of a meeting with Zimmer. “He kept it real with me. I told him how I feel. So just talking to him, I believe in everything he (said) and I’ll stand behind him and coach Turner. I respect everything they’re doing. Getting that talk out of the way, it makes me have less pressure on me and it felt good to go in, sit down and talk to him.”

Unless the coaching staff are hiding their true feelings about Patterson, which seems highly unlikely at this point, Zimmer is quick to reference fundamentals and the need for consistency as the key to Patterson seeing more snaps.

“Same thing (as last week), consistency; it’s being in the right place, doing the right things, running the right routes, blocking the right people, lining up in the right place,” Zimmer said. “Again, I want this guy to be a great player. I really do. I want him to be a great player. I don’t know when it will happen but I’m hoping like crazy it does. I want him to be a great player.”

As a rookie, Patterson only had 469 receiving yards, which he can surpass this season by averaging a modest 40 yards over the remaining three games.  His presence int he rushing game is about the same as it was in his rookie season, as well.  His production as a kickoff returner has noticeably dropped to the tune of about seven yards less per attempt.

Perhaps the most noticeable difference from last year to this one, however, is his lack of scores.  As a rookie, Patterson hit the end   zone a total of nine times.  He caught four, rushed for three, and returned two on special teams.  This year has been quite different in that respect, as “Flash” hasn’t scored since Week One.

Patterson certainly shouldn’t be considered a lost cause.  He still has all of the traits that made him an attractive first round prospect two years ago, but it is clear that the new regime expects him to get better if he wants to play more, which certainly seems fair.

In the meantime, the Vikings are placing all their trust in Johnson, Greg Jennings, and Jarius Wright… and being rewarded for it.

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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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  1. At least it seems like he can catch. As long as he has a good attitude and goes with the plan, which is learn his role(!!), he has shown mad game. He didn’t start over Simpson, either. I would put him at running back. It amazes me that these guys get all the way to the NFL and they can’t “run routes”. Really? How hard could that be? I could learn it in weeks, I’m serious. This isn’t rocket science. Doesn’t know what he’s doing or where to line up? That’s bad. Really? I saw a quote from Charles Johnson where he said, “I take advantage of what others take for granted”. Maybe he was being specific. Patterson went on an ego trip, from last year. Just be one of Teddys weapons and do what you do. Learn the playbook, jeez

    1. You are severely over-simplifying the matter. Running routes is not just about knowing which direction the route is supposed to go, it is about knowing when to make your break based on the defensive alignment, making the same read as the QB.

      Its also a matter of running the same route the same way every time. If you re-read the article, Zimmer is not saying Patterson needs to learn how to run routes, he is saying that Patterson needs consistency.

      There is also the little fact that in order to know what route you need to run, you need to know the playbook which is very complicated under Turner’s system. One of the main reasons why Charles Johnson has overtaken Patterson at the X is because Johnson was on the Brown’s practice squad last year and had Turner’s playbook in his hand a full year before Patterson has had a chance to touch it.

      1. Oh yeah? Seems “severly simple to Johnson”, and what else does he have to do? He’s been a WR for two three years, come on. I wonder what George Stewart thinks.

        1. He’s also had a different offensive system for four straight seasons, the guy hasn’t had a chance to just learn one scheme and stick with it. I am surprised that they haven’t used him more on jet sweeps and screens, but it seems like they are more interested in making him a true WR than messing around with gadget type stuff. Most WR’s need three years before it truly clicks for them, so there really isn’t anything odd about his progression.

    2. I honestly believe a big impact on his production was the loss of Adrian Peterson. When defenses had to focus on AP, it opened the door for Patterson gadget plays. This forced a bigger emphasis on Pattersons ability to be a Wide Receiver instead of a gadget where his skills are still too raw. I believe if AP would have played all season it would have made it easier to utilize Patterson on big play gadgets while he continued to develop as a WR. without AP it just exposed his weakness and took away his strength.

  2. Sounds like Patterson just isn’t putting in the time, but I could be wrong. He was dinged up a bit, still is probably.
    I do like Jarius and Johnson…those guys give it hell. Johnson does have an edge on the playbook, and like he said he took advantage.

  3. If I remember right Patterson was only a WR for one year in college. So he may still be learning the WR position. What I think the coaches are implying also is Patterson isn’t working hard enough at learning his craft. He has talent, now he needs to have the drive.

  4. Signing Johnson was a great move! As Turner said, “CJ is playing at a hight level right now.” He is fast, big, and runs great routes. It does help that he was familiar with Norv’s system, but Patterson had all off season, training camp and half of this season to learn it. He has had every opportunity to shine and just hasn’t proven to get the job done. I suspect that his minor injuries have limited his explosiveness as evidenced by the fact that his return game hasn’t been strong either.

    If CJ keeps performing at the X position, I don’t see where CP fits into the game plan moving forward.

  5. Welcome back! I hope he ‘gets it’. He seems like a ‘good kid’, usually stays positive. Hopefully maturity and a strong QB leader can motivate him to fix/improve whatever the issue is.

  6. I will say that it wouldn’t surprise me to hear some Gordon for Patterson trade rumors this off season. One thing that has become pretty evident this year is how much Norv likes guys he’s familiar with. I don’t expect Patterson to be moved, but if they were going to do it they would pretty much have to take a character risk guy like Gordon to get anywhere near the talent level back. I don’t imagine Cleveland wants to hand that guy a huge contract anytime soon, getting Patterson would be a good deal for them.

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