Cordarrelle Patterson has spent much of this spring catching passes from backup quarterback Shaun Hill as he runs with the second-string offense.
When the Vikings trot out three-receiver sets, it is Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson and Jarius Wright on the field, not the 2013 first-round pick.
But despite Patterson getting little work with starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in team drills during spring practices, offensive coordinator Norv Turner said today that Patterson is still seen as a potential starter.
“He’s in the mix. In my mind, he’s in the mix,” Turner said. “I told our guys that when we start our games I hope we have 16 starters. You can only put 11 on the field at a time. But if we can get to where we are playing multiple people and giving defenses different looks and we have a lot of people contributing, it makes us much harder to defend.”
After a slow start to his second season — during which he too often ran the wrong route or lined up improperly — Patterson was benched last November in favor of Johnson and could not regain his starting spot. He finished the season with 33 catches for 384 yards and one touchdown.
So this offseason, Patterson spent a few weeks doing grueling outdoor workouts in San Francisco. He also was supposed to work with a former NFL wide receiver recommended to him by coach Mike Zimmer, but the Vikings continue to keep all details about that operation under wraps.
Turner seems to be pleased with the work that Patterson put in this spring, and it sounds like the Vikings are counting on the 24-year-old to contribute this season in some capacity, even if he isn’t technically a starter.
“I think Cordarrelle’s had a good offseason,” Turner said. “We’ve got a good group of receivers, a good group of guys that can contribute, can compete. We added Mike Wallace. So I think we are going to have a lot of guys contribute on offense and Cordarrelle is going to be one of those guys.”