Before the Vikings broke up last week and went their own ways for much of the offseason, Coach Mike Zimmer dropped an interesting tidbit on the media assembled at Winter Park.
As the conversation shifted from one subject to another, it ultimately landed on the disappointing performance from second-year wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
33 receptions and 1 TD receiving for Patterson was severely underachieving for a guy who was pegged by national outlets as a player on the verge before the season started. But as the year went on, we saw Cordarrelle’s playing time dropping and we saw him set up camp in the coach’s doghouse a few times. But still, Zimmer and the team held out hope for Patterson to become a reclamation project at some point.
Understanding that it would be a little tough to have the specific impact needed on one player during the middle of the season, Zimmer crafted a plan, one that he has yet to reveal, to aid Cordarrelle during his offseason training.
Maybe the biggest part of this plan was reaching out to a mentor for Cordarrelle to work with during the summer.
Zimmer would later mention when asked if this person was a player, a coach or an instructor, he replied, “kind of all three.”
If you’re anything like me, you’ve already started to contemplate who this person might be.
We already know one person it is not, Cris Carter. Tim Yotter from Vikings Update caught up with Carter and flat out asked him. So check that name of your list.
What other people with ties to Zimmer could be a good fit with Cordarrelle?
My mind then goes directly to a guy like Michael Irvin.
Irvin spent time with Zimmer in Dallas, though the pair didn’t have a whole lot of interaction working on different sides of the football. Irvin battled through his own demons as he came to age on the NFL scene but those demons were very different (or so we think) than Cordarrelle’s. The pair have similar attitudes and would work well together, but Irvin seems to have moved on from the instruction side of football, and he was never known to be one to share his skillset, he’s better at sharing his opinions.
It’s not Carter, probably not Irvin, what other wide receiver mentors does Mike Zimmer have ties to?
Maybe Troy Aikman could share some of his perspective from the quarterback’s eyes?
Terry Glenn and Joey Galloway spent a little time in Dallas with Zimmer?
Chad “OchoCinco” Johnson? That probably wouldn’t be a good idea.
Then it hit me...I’m looking at this all wrong. My mind immediately went to former wide receivers to fill in as this mentor when the correct answer was likely staring me right in the face.
There’s a guy who is a former player, a former coach and a former instructor who has very strong ties, and public ties to Mike Zimmer. A guy who, if anyone could get through to Patterson, he could. It has to be Bill Parcels.
Parcels and Zimmer spent time together in Dallas from 2003-2006 and Zimmer has said many a times that Parcels remains a coaching mentor for him to this day. Bill Parcels was the last guy that Mike Zimmer talked to before accepting the job in Minnesota. They have an open line of communication, Parcels has a bit of free time right now, and he has the big name and big resume to get a guy like Cordarrelle’s attention
There’s been no official confirmation that Parcels is the guy, but it just makes too much sense. And as far as I’m concerned, Bill is as a good a guy as any to snap CP out of this funk.