With all due respect to future first-ballot hall of fame running back Adrian Peterson, there appears to be a new centerpiece in the Minnesota Vikings’ offense — former Vols wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
I’m not suggesting, even for a moment, that Patterson is more important to the Vikings than Peterson, but it’s clear that he will be a focal point of the offense.
Everyone knows what Adrian Peterson has to offer. Everyone knows — even at age 29 — that he’s one of the most dangerous players in the league.
But that’s not the case with Patterson.
There are still a lot of unknowns surrounding Patterson. How much has he progressed in his route running? How dangerous can he really be?
Those questions add to the mystique of Patterson. Those questions also mean the Vikings will be able to catch a lot of teams off guard with how they use him.
The former Vol saw his first pre-season action in a win over the Oakland Raiders on Friday night. Patterson was only in the game briefly, but he was impressive in his limited action.
Patterson saw four targets and caught three passes for 38 yards.
Even in his brief usage, it was obvious that Minnesota is going to make getting Patterson the ball a priority.
And they should.
Patterson is as elusive as they come with the ball in his hands in the open field. He seems to have a sixth sense when it comes to defenders.
Not only that, but Patterson is playing with much more confidence in his second season.
Cordarrelle Patterson: “I feel like I belong here. Last year I didn’t feel like a part of the team but this year I know I belong here.”
— KFAN1003 (@KFAN1003) August 9, 2014
There are only two things that can hold Patterson back this season — poor quarterback play and himself.
Patterson really does appear to be more comfortable on the field. He seems completely at peace with the idea of being the team’s top receiving option. That added confidence should aid him in making a big leap in year two ( I feel like there should be a Derek Dooley joke about year 0 inserted here, but I digress).
As long as Matt Cassel or Teddy Bridgewater can get Patterson the ball, he can do the rest.
Patterson is one of the top young wide receivers in the league. If he plays to his potential, then 2014 will be his coming out party.