INDIANAPOLIS -- Early in Cordarrelle Patterson's time with the Minnesota Vikings, the dynamic rookie was used so little on offense that it moved former coach Leslie Frazier -- not normally one to put his coordinators on the spot -- to plainly state the Vikings needed to get Patterson on the field more.
"We're going to get that rectified,” Frazier said a day after Patterson's 105-yard kickoff return against the Bears in Week 2. “He definitely deserves to be on the field more."
Frazier said later in the season the Vikings couldn't bring Patterson along much faster than they did, and he was a key part of the offense by the end of the year. But it always seemed puzzling that former offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave couldn't do more to get Patterson the ball on the screen passes and handoffs they used late in the season. In any case, it doesn't sound like that will be a problem under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner.
General manager Rick Spielman said on Thursday that Turner has "already put in 10 plays for [Patterson]." He added, "That’s the first thing he was doing when he was putting the X’s and O’s part of it together." Turner talked excitedly about Patterson at his introductory news conference earlier this month, comparing him to breakout Browns receiver Josh Gordon, and it seems likely Patterson will be a focal point of the Vikings offense in 2014.
"He is a unique talent," Spielman said on Thursday. "Last year, we were able to collect three first round draft picks and felt very strong about him where we did trade back up in the first round to get him and know what type of unique traits that he has as an athlete just not only because of his speed and movement skills, but his size. When we did trade Percy Harvin away last year, we wanted to get that dynamic returner back. We wanted to get a guy that had traits Percy Harvin had for us and it’s a young guy that I think is going to continue to develop, and I expect him to thrive under Norv."