Rookie Patterson matches NFL record with 109-yard return

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Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson returned the opening kick-off for a 109-yard touchdown.

Photo: Mckenna Ewen, Star Tribune

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Vikings rookie Cordarrelle Patterson set an NFL record for longest kickoff return with a 109-yard touchdown on the opening kickoff of a 44-31 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Mall of America Field.

Patterson’s return also tied the NFL record for longest play, which coincidentally also took place at the Metrodome. Antonio Cromartie returned a missed field goal 109 yards for the San Diego Chargers in a 2007 game against the Vikings.

Patterson, who had a 105-yard return at Chicago in Week 2, joined Percy Harvin as the only returners in team history with two kickoff returns for touchdowns in a season.

“No matter where the ball is kicked, I feel like I’m going to return it,” Patterson said. “I have a coach who believes in me. Wherever the ball is, I’m going to bring it out. I have to give it all to my blockers. They set it up one way and I go that way, then there’s a wide-open hole for me.”

Jennings talks it out

While Vikings receiver Greg Jennings didn’t speak to the media after Sunday’s game, Aaron Rodgers touched on his lengthy postgame chat with his former teammate.

“We have a lot of good memories together,” the Packers quarterback said. “I’m not going to talk about what was said. If you want to talk to him about that, I’m not sure he’s going to say anything, but you can talk to him about that.”

The two met near midfield after the game and were surrounded by cameras as Jennings, who had only one catch for 9 yards Sunday, said a few words into Rodgers’ ear while they hugged.

Jennings was critical of Rodgers during the offseason when he signed to the Vikings, questioning his leadership skills among other multiple rants he had. Yet Jennings changed his tone during the week of Rodgers and the organization he spent seven seasons with and actively sought out Rodgers after the game.

Browner honored

Former safety Joey Browner became the 21st member of the Vikings Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony.

Browner joined Hall of Fame safety Paul Krause as the only defensive backs inducted into the ring. Browner, who played for the Vikings from 1983 to 1991, earned first-team All-Pro three times and was selected to the Pro Bowl six consecutive seasons. He was named to the NFL’s Team of the Decade for the 1980s.

Browner collected 1,098 tackles in a Vikings uniform, fifth most in team history. His 37 interceptions rank fourth, and his 9½ sacks and 18 forced fumbles lead all Vikings defensive backs.

Asked if there is only one statistic or part of his game that he’s most proud of, Browner said, “Pain.”

“My job was to wreak havoc and mayhem so I took pride in that,” he said. “My job was to intimidate folks in a good way. I was legally paid to do this. I enjoyed it.”

Browner earned a reputation as a hard hitter and ferocious tackler. He noted he played in a different era when there weren’t as many rules and player safety was not a leaguewide initiative.

“The horse collar was my signature tackle,” he said. “You get them down by any means necessary.”

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