Vikings' Patterson won’t turn ‘drama queen’
By Brian MurphySt. Paul Pioneer Press MINNEAPOLIS -- Cordarrelle Patterson doesn't have enough street cred to go full diva on offensive coordinator Norv Turner, but the Vikings wide receiver silently is building a case for his increased involvement.
By Brian Murphy
St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS - Cordarrelle Patterson doesn’t have enough street cred to go full diva on offensive coordinator Norv Turner, but the Vikings wide receiver silently is building a case for his increased involvement.
Patterson’s marginalization is a hot-button issue within a wildly inconsistent unit that already has started three quarterbacks and lost franchise running back Adrian Peterson to legal troubles.
Since scoring on a spectacular, 67-yard run Week 1 against St. Louis, Patterson has only one carry in four games. What’s more, he has averaged just 38 yards a game receiving.
All eyes will be on Teddy Bridgewater and his wonky ankle Sunday when the rookie quarterback returns from a one-game absence to face the Detroit Lions at TCF Bank Stadium. But Patterson also will be under scrutiny from the Lions’ top-ranked defense and from Vikings fans wondering where have all the good times gone.
“I’m not a drama queen,” Patterson said Thursday. “I don’t want to go to the offensive coordinator and demand the ball. One day, (if) I get a couple more Pro Bowls, maybe I can do stuff like that. But the time is not right now. It’s only my second year.”
With a gleam in his eye, Patterson said he knows the value of being a squeaky wheel.
“People say they don’t see it, but when I was little, in junior college, I was a drama queen,” he said. “I demanded the ball, and it paid off. If things keep going like this, I may have to be that drama queen.”
Patterson is wise enough to know he might not get a friendly audience with Turner, Minnesota’s 62-year-old offensive coordinator.
“He’s not a person you want to go talk to like that; he’ll get after you pretty good,” Patterson said.
Patterson caught two passes for eight yards in last week’s 42-10 loss at rainy Green Bay, where backup quarterback Christian Ponder flopped in his return to the huddle.
A hip injury chased the receiver during the third quarter, although Patterson insisted he would have played through it had victory been within reach.
Patterson, who earned 2013 Pro Bowl honors as rookie kick returner, has only 15 receptions. He has been targeted just 23 times in five games as defenses make a concerted effort to throttle him after his dynamic debut against the Rams.
“Obviously, after the first game, he got a lot of attention when we started moving him back into the backfield,” Turner said. “People really got wide. The runs that he had on them were perimeter runs. Like I said, those things tend to come back around.”
Turner said he understands “everyone’s preoccupation” with Patterson’s production. He also echoed coach Mike Zimmer’s praise for the receiver’s diligence during a lost night at Lambeau.
“There’s times you get open and the ball doesn’t come to you; no one sees that, we do,” Turner said. “There were some times we had a lot of pressure in that game, the ball didn’t come out the way we would like it to, or (we) didn’t have an opportunity to get it out.
“I think he’s working hard.”
Patterson ranks 32nd among 111 wide receivers with 273 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. But he is 59th in passes thrown to him, tied with teammate Jarius Wright.
Wright benefited from Atlanta’s Week 4 attention on Patterson. He enjoyed a career day with Bridgewater, catching eight passes for 132 yards.
“There’s no use to be happy or sad about balls,” Patterson said. “I trust everything that’s going on with this offense and this organization. Less touches just (means) more opportunities for other people. It’s not frustration at all.”
Patterson no longer is sneaking up on defenses, which are challenging his accelerated learning curve for being a professional receiver. He only had one year of Division I experience at Tennessee when the Vikings in 2013 traded up with New England to draft him.
Three years ago, Patterson was playing for Hutchinson Community College in Kansas.
Reading coverages and tightening his route running remain priorities for Patterson under veteran wide receivers coach George Stewart.
“Coach Stew tells me all the time, ‘If you want to be great, you’ve got to have great work habits,’ ” Patterson said.
Zimmer acknowledged “we need to get him more involved that what we are.”
Because Patterson is getting antsy for the big plays and touchdowns. There might be honor in being a decoy, but no big contracts.
“Ain’t none,” he said with a chuckle.
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