Cordarrelle Patterson Picks His Next NFL Team

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings fans remember Cordarrelle Patterson fondly from four seasons in purple, and the potential Future Hall of Famer has a new NFL address for 2024.

Cordarrelle Patterson Picks His Next NFL Team

Patterson chose the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he’ll play for former Vikings coach Mike Tomlin.

Cordarrelle Patterson
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Tuesday, “Former Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson reached agreement on a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers, per sources. Patterson reunites with his former HC Arthur Smith.”

Pittsburgh makes it six teams in 12 seasons for Patterson, a wide receiver who returned kicks for the Vikings back during the Mike Zimmer era — later converted to a running back who also returns kicks. Here’s Patterson’s NFL resume to date:

  • Minnesota Vikings (2013–2016)
  • Oakland Raiders (2017)
  • New England Patriots (2018)
  • Chicago Bears (2019–2020)
  • Atlanta Falcons (2021–2023)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (2024–present)
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The 33-year-old — yes, he has staying power in the NFL — will tentatively slide into an RB3 role for the Steelers and presumably return kicks in 2024. This offseason, Pittsburgh has welcomed quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Justin Fields to replace Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph, and Mitchell Trubisky, so it’s change galore in the Steel City.

Since leaving the Vikings after the 2016 season, Patterson transformed into a running back after Minnesota originally drafted him from Tennesee with “WR” attached to his resume. Patterson also returned kicks for the Vikings — one of the best in NFL history to perform the task — but was untapped as a running back in purple.

Coach Ain
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The Vikings drafted Patterson in the 1st Round of the 2013 NFL Draft, an explosive event for the franchise as it selected three men in Round 1. Except Patterson wasn’t really a wide receiver, so the aftermath of his addition to the Vikings roster was muted. The man was a phenomenal special teams player — returning kicks left and right for touchdowns — but he never busted out as a true-blue WR1 as his draft stock would suggest.

Patterson went on to join the Raiders, Patriots, Bears, Falcons, and now Steelers after his final 2016 campaign in Minnesota. Starting in New England, Patterson embraced a hybrid role, playing some running back while still returning kicks like a madman and catching passes here and there. He also served as a default RB1 for parts of the Falcons 2021 and 2022 seasons.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee alumnus has tallied 47 total touchdowns since the start of 2013 and holds the NFL record for most kickoff return touchdowns and the NFL’s longest play (109 yards, tied).

The NFL announced new kick-returning rules this week — probably why Pittsburgh immediately signed Patterson — and those transactions will now look like this:

Oddsmakers expect the Steelers to win 7.5 games in 2024.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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