The Minnesota Vikings are entering a season they think they can contend for a Super Bowl and who can blame them? Minnesota came out of absolutely nowhere to make the playoffs in 2012 and they grabbed three first round picks in the NFL Draft to boost talent on both sides of the ball. One of those guys they drafted was Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, but don’t think being taken in the first-round means Minnesota is rushing him into being their No. 1 target on Sunday’s.
According to the Star Tribune, head coach Leslie Fraizer said that the team will be “easing” Patterson into the No. 3 role behind both Greg Jennings and Jerome Simpson.
“We don’t want give him too much early,” Frazier said. “We want to make sure we do enough to get him on the field and really go to his strengths. There are some things that we have in mind. But everything that I’ve seen, we’ll be able to utilize his talents.”
Patterson was taken with the Vikings third first-round draft pick which they acquired from the New England Patriots after trading back into the round. Minnesota already had two previous first-round picks thanks to the trade that sent Percy Harvin to Seattle, but Minnesota went defense with both their original pick and the one from the Seahawks.
Patterson is still a raw talent but Vikings fans are hoping he becomes a Randy Moss type deep threat for quarterback Christian Ponder. Many believed the Vikings would double up on receivers in the first round and there was some mild shock when they decided they’d rather double up on defense. But when Patterson continued to slide in the first-round after being projected as a top-15 pick, Minnesota knew they had to have him.
Frazier says the Vikings will also look to use Patterson in kick returns as well.
“We’re going to look at him primarily as a kick returner,” Frazier said. “He’s done some punt return but that’s not where we’re going to be looking at him primarily.”
The rookie receiver is coming into an excellent position with the VIkings as he’ll be eased into a role that will afford veteran Greg Jennings to mentor him in. Jennings spent his entire career with the Green Bay Packers and now can not only be the No. 1 target for the Vikings over the next few seasons, but he’ll be able to coach up Patterson so the baton can be passed smoothly when he leaves the team.