Vikings’ Special Teams Coordinator Says Cordarrelle Patterson is the “Best Kick Returner” in the NFL

By Rachel Wold

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was the 29th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft. The superb athleticism Patterson displayed in his rookie year while performing mainly with the special teams unit led many to believe his success would carry over into 2014.

In 2013, Patterson 1,393 yards kick return yards to go with two touchdowns. He also tallied 469 receiving yards and four scores. Patterson was all the talk heading up to the 2014 season. Unfortunately for the Vikings, the Patterson of 2013 disappeared. Last season saw Patterson fall victim to the dreaded “sophomore slump,” where he scored only one total touchdown with 1,255 total return/receiving yards.

Despite Patterson’s struggles, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer had some glowing remarks regarding the third-year receiver (via the St. Paul Pioneer Press).

“In my mind, Cordarrelle Patterson is the best kick returner in this league, so it would be crazy for me to put someone else in that spot.”

It appears not all hope for Patterson is lost. Additionally, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman recently said that Patterson has “really grown up a lot.” Head coach Mike Zimmer also noted that Patterson is improving in his route-running.

Patterson averaged 32.4 yards per attempt on returns in 2013. This stat dipped to 25.6 in 2014. Still, Patterson has proven he can be powerful in this position. With the team stacked nicely on offense, Patterson’s presence on special teams appears to be solidified.

Entering his third season with the team, Patterson needs to progress a great deal in order to live up to his status as a first-round pick. It really is a do-or-die season for the young pass catcher. Otherwise, he will be limited to this kick return role.

Photo: USA Today Sports