The widely held belief is that Vikings second-year wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson will take a step forward this season.
The surrounding circumstances are in his favor:
--New offensive coordinator Norv Turner.
--One year more mature in the NFL.
--An extra season of learning route running and the other intricacies , after just one season spent at the University of Tennessee.
--A quarterback situation that outwardly appears more stable than it did a year ago.
--No longer will he be underused to open the season, only to come on late in the year with more exposure and playing time.
A step forward seems like a reasonable conclusion to draw. So logical, in fact, that Patterson has been tabbed as the No. 1 player on the list of players most likely to 'make the leap,' as compiled by the NFL Around the League blog.
The blog profiled the top 25 players "we see Making the Leap in 2014."
No.1 on the list: Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
Here are some of the praises that flowed for Patterson from ATL writer, Kevin Patra:
We've been eagerly awaiting Patterson's 2014 season since the end of last year when the receiver put on a show down the stretch.
The 6-foot-2 dynamo is an amalgam of Devin Hester, Demaryius Thomas, Julio Jones, Spiderman and the Road Runner.
Patterson displayed explosive playmaking ability in the return game, out of the backfield and improved skill in the pass attack as the year progressed. His combination of size, speed and toughness are tailor-made for today's NFL.
If you want to see some highlight reel plays from Patterson again, check out that link.
But it's not all Purple- and Gold-tinted glasses.
--The piece pointed out that his biggest knock continues to be his route running.
Even as he impressed down the stretch, the receiver was inconsistent in his routes. He often rounded off cuts and on some occasions even took lazy angles. He must catch on to new coordinator Norv Turner's offense quickly and become a master of the entire route tree.
--It also fairly pointed out that the quarterback situation, while it appears more stable, still is not ideal. Patra said in the piece that Patterson "looked his best last season with Matt Cassel under center, because the veteran quarterback wasn't afraid to give him a chance to make a play."
For now, it appears most likely that Cassel will start the season as the Vikings quarterback. Rookie Teddy Bridgewater could eventually take over. But those questions will not be answered for a while.
Patra's guess for the type of season Patterson could have?
Even with the Vikings' run-heavy approach, a potential 70-catch, 1,100-yard season shouldn't be snickered at.
Former Vikings RB Toby Gerhart is No. 8. Vikings DE Everson Griffen is No. 13. Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes is No. 24.