Wide receiver and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the Vikings players who could really benefit this season under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who always has made good use of big-play receivers in his offenses.
Patterson was asked what he has learned from Turner so far this offseason.
“He has taught me a lot of things,” said Patterson, one of the Vikings’ three first-round draft picks last year. “He really doesn’t want us talking about it, but he has taught me a lot of things since Day 1 when he got here. You know, I continue to talk to him before practice, and he’s a great guy.”
Clearly, the Vikings offense will be different this year with a new coaching staff, but Patterson hesitated to go into specifics.
“There’s nothing for me to talk about, to talk about the offense [specifically], but it’s different,” Patterson said. “As a player we see different things but you know not to talk about.
“It should be different. Different plays and everything is different from last year, it should be different.”
One thing that Patterson was open about is his hope that Turner’s play-calling features a few more deep routes than Patterson got to run last year with Leslie Frazier as coach and Bill Musgrave as offensive coordinator.
“I hope so! I hope I get a lot of deep balls,” Patterson said.
Last season, Patterson finished with 45 receptions for 469 yards and four touchdowns as a receiver. He had 12 carries for 158 yards (13.2 yards per catch) and three touchdowns. And he had 43 kick returns for 1,393 yards and two touchdowns, including an NFL record 109-yard return against the Packers.
Patterson was named to the Pro Bowl and to the Associated Press All-Pro first team as a kick returner.
He was asked if he felt before the 2013 season started if he would be so successful as a rookie.
“No, not really. You know just coming in and working hard and the hard work paid off,” Patterson said. “I didn’t get that much playing time like I expected to get at the beginning of the season, but at the end of the year it kind of blew up a little bit.”
He added that one thing he was confident about early on was being the team’s kick returner.
“I’ve been returning kicks my whole life, so coming into the NFL that was something I wanted to do,” he said. “So you know I got an opportunity to do that and it was a blessing.”
Patterson said that making the Pro Bowl in Hawaii as a rookie was a great achievement, but he wants to do it differently this season.
“Oh that was great, making the Pro Bowl,” Patterson said. “It was fun and I had a great experience and hopefully next year I can go as a wide receiver.”
Asked if he thinks that opposing defenses are going to come at him differently as a second-year pro after the success he had in his rookie campaign, Patterson said: “Oh it’s going to be different defenses every week we go in and play. They can’t worry about one guy, we have a lot of threats on our offense. If you focus in on one guy, other guys will be open.”
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