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Updated: September 16th, 2013 5:13pm
Zulgad: Refusal to use Cordarrelle Patterson a complete mystery

Zulgad: Refusal to use Cordarrelle Patterson a complete mystery

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by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com

There are plenty of disgruntled folks at Winter Park following the Vikings' 0-2 start, but there is one man who has the right to be the most ticked off.

He also should be demanding answers.

General manager Rick Spielman sent second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round picks to the New England Patriots in April so he could take Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson with the 29th pick in the opening round.

Spielman considers draft picks to be gold and this was a significant investment meant to help fill the void that was left when dynamic playmaker Percy Harvin was dealt to Seattle in March.

So what have the Vikings gotten from Patterson in the first two games of the season?

Try 11 snaps -- an inexcusably low number.

Patterson raced 105 yards with the opening kickoff of the Vikings' 31-30 loss at Chicago on Sunday for a touchdown.

After offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave used Patterson for only five snaps in Week 1 at Detroit, this type of play provided the perfect launching pad for Patterson to use his skills on offense.

Instead, Musgrave decided to forget all about Patterson. The rookie finished with two catches for 14 yards and now has three receptions for 24 yards.

One gets the feeling that if Musgrave had been the Vikings' offensive coordinator in 1998 that Randy Moss might have had trouble getting on the field.

A week ago, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier essentially said the fact Patterson played one fewer snap than quarterback-turned-wide receiver Joe Webb was a decision made by the coaching staff.

On Monday, Frazier's tone on the subject had changed after Webb again was in for one more snap than Patterson.

"We're going to get that rectified," Frazier said Monday when asked about Patterson's playing time. "He definitely deserves to be on the field more. He's shown that in the few snaps he's gotten in these first two ball games.

"Hopefully, everything being equal, that should not be a part of the conversation next week. We want to get him on the field. He's one of our explosive players for sure. We see what he does when he gets the ball in his hands. We've got to find a way to get him on the field."

Asked how a player with Patterson's potential gets lost after starting the game with a 105-yard kickoff return, Frazier said: "He doesn't get lost, we're well aware of his talents. Even on the smoke screen, when we threw it out and he got 14 yards. We're well aware of his talents. He doesn't get lost. But we'll get it rectified."

Patterson, who is 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, arrived in Minnesota with the tag of being extremely talented but raw. He caught 46 passes for 778 yards with five touchdowns in one season at Tennessee after playing two years at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas.

The fact Patterson might be raw is not a reason to make him a spectator. He clearly has the "it" factor when he touches the ball and his big-play potential outweighs concerns that his route running might not rival Jerry Rice.

Patterson has the ability to create off short passes and run past defenders to establish the vertical game.

Can Christian Ponder take advantage of this?

We'll have no idea until Patterson starts seeing the field. Perhaps Spielman and Frazier have informed Musgrave that it might be a good idea to make sure that happens this coming Sunday.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
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