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Updated: August 11th, 2013 6:41pm
Greg Jennings embracing the mentor role with Cordarrelle Patterson

Greg Jennings embracing the mentor role with Cordarrelle Patterson

by Andrew Krammer
1500ESPN.com
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MANKATO, Minn. -- Greg Jennings stood on the sidelines of Friday's preseason opener, watching rookie receiver Cordarrelle Patterson rack up 104 all-purpose yards in the first half.

In his eighth NFL season, Jennings is a two-time Pro Bowler, a Super Bowl champion and has taken part in some of the league's most dangerous passing attacks in his last few years with the Green Bay Packers.

But before Jennings can comment on his own play, which amounted to two snaps and no targets on Friday, he has plenty to say about Patterson.

"I'm high on the guy," Jennings said. "I ride him a little bit, trying to stay in his ear about little things. Little things to try and sharpen up and detail."

Patterson was targeted seven times on Friday, catching four passes in a variety of ways: sacrificing his body on midfield crossing routes and snagging a catch along the sideline.

From a veteran's perspective, Jennings said it's not about the way Patterson broke through opposing tacklers or how he found the seam on his opening 50-yard kick return -- it's the attitude, which trumps talent in building a great wide receiver.

"As far as his talent, you don't teach talent," Jennings said. "You just have it. [Patterson] has the skill set. He knows what he can do out there. It's just a matter of doing it every single play, not one play here, one play there, just every single play."  

Reminiscing to his days with the Packers, Jennings said he needed veteran support just like any rookie.

"Even more so than [Donald] Driver, was Robert Ferguson. I came in competing for a job with Ferguson, he pretty much pushed me in the back every day: 'we have to do this, have to do that.' Driver, he was more of an example-type guy, led more by action, didn't say too much," Jennings said. "I remember him telling me, slow down, everything doesn't have to be so fast."

Jennings said he had some similar advice for Patterson.

"[Patterson] just has to learn how to control his speed," Jennings said. "It's a touchy situation. It's a young guy, his talent is going to do a lot for him, but it's using that talent and honing it the right way to where he can be a heck of a player in this league. He will be. I'm sure he will be. But I'm talking right now."

It's clear by Patterson's comments after Friday's game that both coach Leslie Frazier, who preaches a team-first mentality, and Jennings are in Patterson's head, either creating or reinforcing a humble attitude.

After being asked if fans and media can expect the same out of Patterson every night, the rookie shook his head, smiled and delivered a remark that's not typical for a first-year receiver who had an impressive debut.

"I can't say I'm going to do this, do that, it don't happen," Patterson said after Friday's game. "You just look at the film, see all the mistakes I had and go to work."

Andrew Krammer covers the Minnesota Vikings for 1500ESPN.com. He previously covered the Gophers men's basketball team for the Minnesota Daily.
Email Andrew | @andrew_krammer
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