Patience pays off as the 'Cordarrelle Patterson Effect' takes hold
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MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Vikings average field position on five kickoffs on Sunday was their own 33-yard line.
And dynamic, NFL-leading return man Cordarrelle Patterson didn't field a single one.
"The Cordarrelle Patterson effect," Frazier coined the phenomenon. "When we are starting on the 30-yard line and 35-yard line, it really makes the day a lot easier for the play caller to be able to start plays from there and making calls."
Shadowed by receiver Greg Jennings' career-high 11 receptions for a season-high 163 yards, Patterson caught just five passes for 35 yards and a touchdown and drew a pass interference call on the Eagles that led to running back Matt Asiata's third touchdown of the game. The subsequent 48-30 score stood as final.
Potentially spurned by punt returner Marcus Sherels' added duties on defense as he started in place of the injured Xavier Rhodes, the Vikings had Patterson return one punt, which he fair caught to start the second half.
"They can call it the Flash effect, I don't want to call it the Cordarrelle Patterson effect," Patterson said. "The kickers, you know, I feel like they're starting to respect me around here. As a rookie, it's kind of good being back there, seeing them kickers scared to kick it to you."
Patterson, 22, was the Vikings' third first-round draft pick (29th overall) in April and wasn't an integral part of the offense in the early goings. After a Week 2 loss at the Chicago Bears, Frazier said he planned to 'rectify' Patterson's lack of involvement.
The rookie's playing time increased, but he was still seeing just 20 offensive snaps in weeks 3 through 10 of the NFL season. The Vikings' Nov. 17 loss at the Seattle Seahawks appeared to be the turning point for Patterson's playing time.
"There's no question in my mind, when looking back, we definitely did the right thing by bringing him along the way we did. The goal was to get to this point where we're playing our best football as a team and have a guy like that growing at the right time," Frazier said. "Unfortunately, we didn't get off to the start we wanted to, but still to see his growth has been great."
Patterson has averaged around 45 snaps per game since the Week 11 loss at Seattle as offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has implemented more receiver-heavy packages.
The Vikings attempted two runs with Patterson in a span of three plays in the second quarter for 15 yards. The latter of the two runs went for 12 yards on an end-around that Patterson claimed he was trying to throw to Jennings downfield, but reversed course and found open field on the opposite side.
After 14 games, Patterson's progression apparently has just begun.
"Well, you saw us line him up in the backfield at times to run routes with him. There are other things that we want to be able to do with him and we'll continue in these final two games to explore some of those," Frazier said.