General News

Cordarrelle Patterson Again Working out With “Hell’s Trainer”

Cordarrelle Patterson is, at the very least, committed to his offseason conditioning. For the second year in a row, the Vikings kick returner (and wide receiver, technically) is working out in California with trainer Frank Matrisciano, the man “Men’s Health” magazine once called “Hell’s Trainer.”

The Star Tribune’s Matt Vensel wrote about Patterson’s offseason workouts with Mastrisciano last year. Mastrisciano is an interesting figure. For his considerable fame in the fitness world, he doesn’t own a gym, preferring instead to conduct his workouts in the great outdoors—namely, the San Francisco sand. He doesn’t have a website, and often wears a hood and mask to conceal his identity. But he has trained everyone from boxers to SWAT teams to NBA stars Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph, and his students swear by the results.

“The first time I got there, it was the hardest thing I ever went through—not in life, but working out-wise,” Patterson told Vensel in 2015. “It was hard mentally. You’ve got to set your mind aside, because you’re going there to the good weather and hills.”

For Vikings fans, this news is likely to elicit mixed emotions. On one hand, it’s encouraging to see any player commit to his offseason conditioning, especially one who has had his drive questioned by Vikings coaches in the past. On the other, the physical part of the game has never been the problem for Patterson. He’s an athletic freak, which is why the Vikings traded 4 draft picks for the chance to draft him. It’s the mental side—the route running, the playbook, and other nuances of Norv Turner’s offense—that have kept him off the field.

After a promising rookie season in which he scored nine total touchdowns, Patterson saw a decline in every significant offensive statistical category in 2014. In 2015, his offensive production went from frustrating to virtually nonexistent; two receptions and two rushing attempts for 25 combined yards. Total. He remains a dangerous kick returner, but it’s hard not to be disappointed that the Vikings are getting essentially nothing out of him on offense. They certainly didn’t trade up into the first round of the draft to get him just so he could return kicks.

Cordarrelle Patterson Again Working out With "Hell's Trainer"

It’s of course possible to focus on improving both the physical and mental parts of your game at the same time, and for all we know, Patterson is doing just that. But it’s obvious the Vikings coaching staff is past the point of frustration with Cordarrelle Patterson, and it’s going to take a complete rededication to refining his offensive skills to get him back on the field. Until then, he’s just a kick returner.

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Sam Neumann

Sam Neumann is a freelance writer and lifelong Vikings apologist. He has seen his share of Vikings-related heartbreak, but believes we are united by the hope that one day that norse ship will come in. Sam is the author of three books, including the New York Times Bestseller Memoirs of a Gas Station. He lives in Denver, Colorado, and has had it with Broncos fans. You can follow him on twitter @NeumSamN.

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  1. First off, thanks to Sam for talking me off the ledge after the Seahawks game. A better missive on what it means to be a (resilient) Vikings fan I have not seen. Glad you are now part of the VT family. Second, I look forward to Cordarrelle taking the coaches up on their suggestion to focus on developing his WR skill set during the offseason. Imagine the impact that CP can have as a swiss army knife option. Spielman and Zimmer are together moving this team in the right direction. Why can’t Patterson finally decide to be part of that growth?

    1. Thank you, Andrew. The entire situation has become completely baffling to me. It’s obvious he isn’t doing things Zimmer has asked of him, but I think we need to acknowledge he made a real impact as a rookie before the current coaching staff signed on. That makes me wonder if they aren’t being too rigid; yes, I understand his route running needs to improve. But how can Bill Musgrave get 7 TDs out of him, and Norv have no use for him at all? Surely there’s something he can contribute. The lack of touches almost seems like punishment at this point. In the end, I think, it’s on Patterson, but I don’t think the coaching staff is without fault.

      1. This reinforces my reading of the tea leaves of the Shurmur/Sparano hires as being as much about coaxing maximum value out of existing personnel as it is about upgrading position coaches. Mike Wallace underachieved. CP underachieved. Teddy probably underachieved this year. Kalil plateaued, Fusco looked terrible, and Clemmings never got better. Ruddy never took off. Our two most consistent WRs were probably Wright and Thielen, followed by Diggs. What happened to CJ? AP had a good year but only as a result of forcing it, not out of any nice cohesive flow.

        Despite his maddening mental attitude, I think the staff or FO still believes that CP can contribute to this team, AND that fits within the more important priority of developing Teddy. Faster, WCO or EP style passing plays could be mutually beneficial to TB and a player like CP. enough to have a role for CP on the team beyond KR. I think Shurmur and Sparano are here to help have those conversations in the background about how to fully utilize Norvs offense while adding wrinkles to maximize player contributions.

  2. I agree completely ..they’re willing to give Peterson touches and go nowhere or lose yardage but not Patterson. He can probably break one every three or four plays too. Its not like Norm’s offense is doing so great, either. I wonder what the actual story is . From my house it looks like their offense is so raw yet they’re just doing whatever they can do to get first downs and just can’t do any trick plays . I’d give him a couple carries out of the backfield throw some screen passes, get him the ball. Doesn’t make any sense to me

  3. Great insight in previous posts. I get that the dude was in someones doghouse……but to not use him, especially in the playoffs, was a head scratcher. A guy that can break it at anytime is a weapon that needs to be used.

  4. Cordarrelle Patterson reminds me of The Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz.

    …… I mean even his hair and all……

  5. As a rookie, Cordarrelle “flashed” on the scene by being second in the NFL in total yards to LeSean McCoy. Pretty darn good was to start a career. Last year he was the invisible man. Yes he is raw, but no, hi did not become a worse football player. This one is on coaches inability to teach from where I sit by my TV. It makes me suspect that this one goes somewhere personal. CP’s flashy millenia persona has rubbed our old school coaches (read: Norm and Zim) the wrong way and the Vikings are losing out on a difference-making playmaker.

  6. Interesting posts, normally I find myself in the minority in calling out Norv on Patterson’s production. It is definitely a combination of the player not doing what he needs to in order to meet his potential and the coaches not accepting that and finding ways to make sure he still contributes as much as he can to the team anyway. I will say that if receivers aren’t in the spot they are supposed to be it causes interceptions, so I understand why they just wouldn’t throw him out there as a starter, but I still believe they could get him a dozen snaps a game and try to put the ball in his hand on atleast a quarter of those. Even putting him out there as an end around decoy for a Peterson run on a handful of first downs a game would be better than not using him at all. The guy is going to attract the attention of the defense so I say use that, but it hasn’t happened the last two years.

  7. Okay he can start with Frank, but he needs to end up with Michael Irvin. One offseason with Irvin and his fortune could change in a heartbeat.

  8. His lack of use is baffling, Is it that he prepares(practices), so poorly, or is so immature, that management won’t reward or trust him on the field? Wish he’d work out that muscle between his ears, do what he should have done last year- seek professional help! Get thee to a coach-ery!

  9. I Think it comes down to Norvsplay calling, I am so tired of Vikings running Peterson twice and then pass on 3rd down. Everyone knows what is coming, it is the same thing every time. Turner doesn’t think the other team knows what is coming, could we possibly need a new DC?