The Minnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders were almost there at different points with Cordarrelle Patterson.
In 2013, his rookie year, the Vikings handed off to their first-round receiver 12 times for 158 yards and three touchdowns. But things quickly went down hill with Norv Turner in charge of the offense and by 2015, Patterson couldn’t get on the field.
Pat Shurmur came close to finding the proper role for CP84. The current New York Giants head coach used quick screens to get Patterson in space and he set a career high with 52 receptions, but only gained 8.7 yards per catch and ran the ball just seven times for 43 yards.
The Vikings elected not to pick up Patterson’s fifth-year option and let him hit the market despite his online pleas to stay in Minnesota.
In Oakland, he put together a decent season with 430 yards from scrimmage on 44 touches, but again he was underutilized in the backfield despite averaging 9.3 yards per carry on 13 runs.
With five games remaining, Patterson is in line to set his career high in rushing yards and total touches. He’s fit into a deep group of Patriots weapons as a wildcard who can line up anywhere from X receiver to running back. He’s averaging 9.2 yards per catch on 13 reception and 4.2 yards per carry on 37 runs and is third on the team in total offensive touches.
“They’re doing really good with him,” Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said. “Everybody knew Cordarrelle was an outstanding athlete, strong runner, great when he had the ball in his hands. We probably could have done a better job when we had him, after watching them.”
Three weeks ago against the Green Bay Packers he stepped in as the starting running back with 11 carries and 61 yards.
Overall Patterson has taken 37 snaps as a running back, 43 as a slot receiver and 94 as an outside receiver.
“His versatility to do all of those things,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said via conference call on Tuesday. “To run, to catch, to have the vision and athleticism to run the ball in space and have the size and power to be able to get a tough yard or two and run through tackles when he needs to do that. He has good hands, he’s excellent with the ball in his hands. He really knows how to set up blocks, how to break tackles and how to gain yards. He’s extremely talented at doing that.”
Belichick’s offense has taken the quick passes to the extreme with Patterson. Only three of his 13 receptions have come on throws that have gone past the line of scrimmage — though one went for 55 yards. The other 10 catches, which are essentially run plays, have gained 5.7 per reception.
In the kick returning game, nothing has changed. Patterson averages a remarkable 30.9 yards per return with one touchdown.
“He’s been great to work with,” Belichick said. “He’s been really good, loves football, ready to go, practices every day, practices hard, nice plays in practice whether it’s on offense running the ball, catching the ball, in the return game or whether it’s on the scout team giving our defense a look at some of the receivers that we’ve played in recent weeks. He’s always ready to go, he works extremely hard. He’s a very talented player and he’s been great to work with. We’ve asked him to do a lot of different things and he’s been ready, willing and able to do all of them.”