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Updated: April 30th, 2014 5:01pm
Cordarrelle Patterson aims to boost work ethic, 'remember' everything

Cordarrelle Patterson aims to boost work ethic, 'remember' everything

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by Andrew Krammer

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - In Cordarrelle Patterson's rookie season, former coach Leslie Frazier and the Minnesota Vikings brought him along slower than many thought was necessary.

In year two, that governor will be taken off Patterson as he aims to swallow an entire new offensive scheme under Norv Turner -- all while fulfilling the potential many see in the budding receiver.

"Last year, coming in as a rookie, you really don't know what to expect. I don't think my work ethic was good enough last year," Patterson said. "This year my whole mindset is remember everything, do better than you did last year." 

After just one year of Division-I college football, Patterson burst onto the NFL stage last season after the Vikings traded back into the first round to select him with the 29th overall pick. Even though Patterson didn't see more than 40 snaps on offense until Week 11, he made the Pro Bowl as an alternate after amassing a NFL-best 32.4 yards per kickoff return. 

Patterson didn't play football in 2009 before his two years of juco preceeded his lone season at the University of Tennessee. There were never concerns about Patterson's physical ability, only if he could grasp an offensive system in the NFL.

And now he has to do that all over again in his second season.

"It's totally different from last year," Patterson said. "It's going to be tough, but us guys we're going to work together. We're going to be with each other, get here early in the morning and leave late after practice." 

With offseason programs underway, the change has been set into motion for Patterson to not only be more involved in the offense, but to fully grasp a scheme that veteran receiver Greg Jennings said made his 'head spin.' 

"Everything is different. Literally everything is different," Jennings said. "The number system is completely opposite than the West Coast [offense]. Obviously, the concepts once they're in, they're similar. But the way those concepts are verbalized, the language is completely different. Literally I've had to erase everything that I've learned in the past and completely start from scratch."

In that same complex scheme, Patterson said he wants to be more involved, more than just a 'X,' or split end, option in the offense. Under Frazier and former offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, the Vikings eventually used Patterson in the backfield and varied motion sets.

After proving his worth in limited snaps last season, Patterson will likely open Week 1 as the starting split-end ahead of receiver Jerome Simpson.

He should also remain as the Vikings main kickoff returner as he joined a group with receiver Jarius Wright, punt returner Marcus Sherels, cornerback Josh Robinson and others in returning machine-issued kicks on Wednesday. 

"I want to play everything this year so if coach needs me, if someone goes down, I can be that guy," Patterson said.

In order to be that utility player that Zimmer and Turner can plug-and-play at various positions, the onus is on Patterson to wrap his head around Turner's offense so that it's as instinctual as his elusiveness and explosion on the field.

"I wouldn't say complicated. It's a lot more complex. Every offense can be complicated to guys," Jennings said. "But if last year's offense was complicated, guys will struggle with this one for sure." 

Andrew Krammer covers the Minnesota Vikings for He previously covered the Gophers men's basketball team for the Minnesota Daily.
Email Andrew | @andrew_krammer