Vikings' Patterson motivated by New England’s ‘snub’
By Chris TomassonSt. Paul Pioneer Press MINNEAPOLIS -- Never mind that the New England coach might not have said it. Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson vows to be fired up Sunday against the Patriots because of an alleged comment by Bill...
By Chris Tomasson
St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS - Never mind that the New England coach might not have said it. Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson vows to be fired up Sunday against the Patriots because of an alleged comment by Bill Belichick.
The Patriots originally had the No. 29 pick in the first round of the 2013 draft. The Vikings then traded them four picks to move up and take Patterson.
“I’ve seen a little article today where Belichick, I think he said he didn’t want me,” Patterson told reporters Thursday. “So that’s the kind of things that stick in the back of a player’s head. And you get out there, you just want to beat the defense up since people say things like that.”
Patterson didn’t say where he read Belichick’s quote, but no evidence has been found that the legendary coach said such a thing. It would seem highly out of character if he did.
When asked about Patterson and the 2013 draft during a news conference in New England, Belichick said the Patriots evaluate every player. In a conference call with Minnesota media members, Belichick said there were “a lot of good players” available where Patterson was picked and the Patriots traded down because they believed it was “best for our team.”
New England ended up getting current starters Jamie Collins at linebacker for the Vikings’ No. 52 pick and Logan Ryan at cornerback for their No. 83 selection. They also received wide receiver Josh Boyce, now on the practice squad, for No. 102 and they used No. 229 in a deal for running back LeGarrette Blount, who is now with Pittsburgh after rushing for 772 yards in 2013.
For the record, Belichick has been largely complimentary of Patterson this week.
“Patterson is obviously an explosive guy,” Belichick said. “You see that in the return game. He’s a deep threat. He’s dangerous with the ball in his hands, whether you hand it to him or throw it to him on a short pass. He’s a dangerous catch-and-run guy, he’s also a vertical guy. … He’s a strong player.”
Those quotes, though, might not fire up Patterson. Then again, he might not need any further motivation.
No disparaging words were heard from the Rams leading up to Minnesota’s 34-6 victory last week in St. Louis. Yet Patterson ran three times for 102 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown late in the third quarter that put the game away.
“Every time I touch the ball I feel like I need to score and I want to score,” Patterson said. “I don’t like being tackled, so every time I get the ball I’m just trying to get six points.”
But while Patterson’s six points against the Rams made all the highlight shows, it wasn’t what really excited Minnesota offensive coordinator Norv Turner. He was more impressed with Patterson’s two other runs that day, scampers of 23 and 12 yards.
“Those plays, I think when they happen, they are exciting and they are great, and you can’t count on those,” Turner said. “A guy like Cordarrelle is capable of doing that with his physical ability. The two other runs were more impressive to me because they were challenged runs at the line of scrimmage.”
Turner’s mission is to utilize the explosive Patterson in many ways. He returns kicks, having set the NFL record with a 109-yard return last season, runs the ball and, of course, catches it.
“To see other guys get involved is what I’ve been looking for for a long time,” said running back Adrian Peterson, who at times hasn’t played alongside big-play threats in his eight years in Minnesota. “It’s a breath of fresh air.”
For his part, Patterson would like to be even more involved. He didn’t seem too excited about his three catches for 26 yards against the Rams.
Quarterback Matt Cassel joked Wednesday that Patterson regularly lobbies him to get the ball, going so far as to bring him cookies. While Patterson said he hasn’t offered Cassel any gifts yet, he just might if the numbers are right.
“I only got three balls (thrown to me) last week,” Patterson said. “If Matt starts throwing me eight to 10 balls, I’ll bring him however many cookies he wants.”
Patterson, though, has had his moments with Cassel. They include a game at Baltimore last December, when he had seven catches for 141 yards.
Last year’s strong finish as rookie has made Patterson a more brash player on and off the field. When Vikings coach Mike Zimmer had a bucket of water dumped on him after his first coaching win, it was Patterson who did the heavy lifting.
“I wasn’t around at that time,” Patterson said slyly. “It was (wide receiver) Greg Jennings the whole time.”
There is film evidence of Patterson dousing Zimmer. Even if there is no evidence of Belichick dissing Patterson, he will use it as motivation Sunday.
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