A Former Viking Could Be the Odd Man Out

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Some veterans encounter problems after the draft when a team adds a player on the same position, it is a common issue. The Vikings got rid of Adam Thielen before drafting a new wideout. However, one of those players in trouble could be K.J. Osborn who is now threatened to lose the WR2 job to Jordan Addison.

A Former Viking Could Be the Odd Man Out

After trading away Percy Harvin in 2013, the Vikings needed some help at the wide receiver position. The draft featured DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, and Robert Woods. All three became dominant receivers in the NFL, Hopkins, and Allen combined for ten Pro Bowl selections and were arguably snubbed from some more.

A Former Viking Could Be the Odd Man Out
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Allen was a third-round pick but Hopkins went 27th overall. Minnesota traded up to pick number 29, only two spots after Hopkins joined the Houston Texans and selected Cordarrelle Patterson. The big and fast receiver from the University of Tennessee struggled to find his place in NFL offenses for years. In his first eight campaigns, he did not crack 500 receiving yards in a season. Instead, Patterson became one of the best kick returners in NFL history as he recorded nine kickoff return touchdowns, six of which were longer than 100 yards, including a 109-yard return against the Packers, tied for the longest touchdown in NFL history.

The dynamic athlete was a part-time running back in college and slowly moved back into that role in the pros. In a two-year stint with the Bears from 2019-2020, Patterson became a hybrid between running back and wide receiver before fully making the move to RB in 2021 when he signed with the Falcons. That move was an unorthodox but wonderful one.

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Patterson rushed for more than 1,300 yards in his first two campaigns as a running back and added 670 through the air. The 52 catches and 548 receiving yards in 2021 were a career-high for the former wideout. He became one of the top weapons in the league and not only fantasy football players were excited to watch the four-time All-Pro. His powerful but still fast running style is exciting to watch and running back fits his skillset much more than playing receiver.

However, now 32 years old, he is at an age where running backs usually don’t even play anymore because of injuries and declining athleticism. The Falcons re-signed him but he lost snaps in 2022 to rookie Tyler Allgeier, a fifth-round pick out of BYU. He shockingly rushed for 1,035 yards.

In addition to that, the Falcons selected Bijan Robinson with the eighth overall draft pick in 2023. Robinson is widely regarded as one of the elite running back prospects to come out of college in the last decade. Allgeier doesn’t have the receiving skills of Patterson but Robinson does. He is fast, agile, strong, and skilled. It shouldn’t take long until he is fully unleashed.

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Because of those two young guys in the building, it is hard to envision a large role for Patterson in Atlanta’s offense. For that reason, he could be an intriguing trade target for a team that wants to add a big-bodied receiving threat to the backfield. The Falcons would also save $4,250,000 in cap space if they released the veteran.

The new kick return rule that puts the ball at the 25-yard line no matter where the fair catch is called, will also limit his effectiveness as a returner. While he still possesses some intriguing skills and has value, it is in question if it is enough to warrant the high salary cap hit and if the Falcons are the right fit for him.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt