MANKATO – How will receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and Teddy Bridgewater develop any chemistry when they’re working in separate labs?
Patterson is the former first-round draft pick who was benched in 2014 and still is stuck on the second team as what appears to be no higher than the No. 4 receiver. Bridgewater, of course, is the Vikings’ undisputed No. 1 quarterback.
Bridgewater was asked Wednesday how the two can develop timing together with little to no reps in practice. He started off by saying the usual stuff about how Patterson needs to take advantage of any first-team reps he gets. But then Bridgewater hit on what was the primary reason for Patterson’s fall: Not understanding the offense well enough to be where he’s supposed to be and/or when he’s supposed to be there.
“Everything isn’t always timing [with the quarterback],” Bridgewater said. “Sometimes, we throw to areas and he just needs to be in the right place. As long as he’s executing what’s asked of him when he’s in there, we shouldn’t have an issue when he’s in there, whether it’s me or Shaun [Hill] or Mike [Kafka] or Taylor [Heinicke].”
The Vikings weren’t subtle in their public challenge of Patterson to take the game more seriously in the offseason. Wednesday, coach Mike Zimmer said the receiver appears to have gotten the message.
“He’s been impressive,” Zimmer said. “So, you know, today’s a new day. We’ll see how he does today. I don’t know that he’s turned the corner yet. But he’s definitely kind of rounding it.”
Awkward? No, says Loeffler
For the first time since his rookie year in 2004, long snapper Cullen Loeffler is sharing training camp reps with a player who is trying to take his job. And that player, Kevin McDermott, has taken a veteran’s job before when he was with the 49ers as a rookie in 2013.
“Not really,” Loeffler said. “We’ve always had guys come in for tryouts and things of that nature. So it’s not awkward at all. It’s been great for me. It makes me focus a little more on the minutiae. If you’re not playing up to your potential, they’re going to bring someone in to push you or take your job. I’ve seen that at other positions every year I’ve been here.”
Zimmer said he doesn’t expect to experiment with any two-point conversion attempts during the preseason.
“We have to find out who our long snapper is going to be,” he said.
Rules helped Rhodes
Unlike Zimmer, cornerback Xavier Rhodes actually likes the collective bargaining agreement’s rules prohibiting bump and run press coverage by defenders during offseason practices and the first two practices of training camp.
“It helped me get better at my off coverage,” Rhodes said. “I don’t look to the negative. It played to my [advantage] because I used those days to work on what I needed to work on rather than focus on playing press, which is my strength.”
Wright extension on hold?
After kicker Blair Walsh signed a contract extension, receiver Jarius Wright became one of the more likely members of the 2012 draft class to enter talks about an extension.
“We haven’t even talked about it or thought about it,” Wright said. “I told my agent to hold back on it so I can work on playing football. Everything else will come.”
Wright did say that he wants to finish his career here and would be willing to talk about an extension this summer.
“Whenever [General Manager] Rick Spielman tells me it’s my time, I’ll be ready,” Wright said. “I trust him. But it’s football first.”
More pounds for Teddy
Bridgewater weighed 208 pounds last season. The Vikings sent him into the offseason to bulk up, but not exceed 215 pounds.
The 6-3 Bridgewater didn’t reveal his current weight, but he looks stronger.
“I was able to put on some weight,” he said. “Most of it was muscle.”