Cordarrelle Patterson, who first lost his starting job this time a year ago, is trying to stay positive despite plummeting down the depth chart.

“I know my ability. I know what I can do. I’ve just got to control what I can control,” he said today. “When my opportunities come, I’ve got to make the most of it. I’m not getting that many opportunities right now. I don’t know why. But things happen for a reason. You’ve got to be ready for it. The way I’m handling it, man, I think I’m handling it the best. I’m not getting frustrated or anything. When the time comes, I’ll be ready.”

The third-year wide receiver and 2013 first-round pick is currently the team’s sixth receiver. The Vikings continue to give him a handful of snaps a game, though more often than not he is out there for running plays. He has played just 53 offensive snaps, fewest among the wide receivers. Adam Thielen, for example, has played more than twice as many as him.

Patterson has 10 receiving yards on two catches, none since Week 4.

“I’m here. I’m happy to be here,” Patterson said in his first group interview in a while. “And whatever happens, it happens, so I’ve just got to keep my head high and stay happy and stay positive.”

His impact as a kickoff returner has been limited, too. He ranks 11th in the NFL with an average of 24.7 yards per return, but that’s less impressive when you consider that many of them have begun in the back of the end zone.

Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said the blocking on kickoff returns is not where it has been in recent seasons. But he wants Patterson to keep trying to bring the ball out from nine yards deep, in most situations at least. He feels the unit needs that in-game experience to get better as a group.

Patterson, who has no fear as a kickoff returner, is totally cool with that.

“Of course I’m going to take a shot. That’s what I do, man,” said Patterson, whose longest return is 33 yards. “I’ll be looking at film back from my rookie year, I was just out there playing ball, just having fun. Every kickoff return, I’m taking it out and just running full speed, just following those 10 guys in front of me. Each and every week, we try to correct our mistakes on kickoff return and just go out there and try to make a big play for the team.”

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