Regarded as a potential deep threat, Vikings first-round receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has something that arguably will be even more valuable over the balance of his career, if he keeps it — the ability to get open at the top of his route.
Veteran Greg Jennings praised Patterson for what Jennings calls “that definitive step,” which creates separation from the defensive back.
“I remember coming out [of college],” Jennings said, via Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com. “I had that definitive step. That kind of gets washed out because everything they teach you is that they want everything to look the same. The definitive step starts to kind of fade away, but that’s what creates that separation. I just told him, do not lose that. Because the more I see him do that, the more I remember when I used to do that and create so much, even more separation. I’m starting to creep that back in. . . .
“That’s a gift. You can’t really teach that. He has it. And I remember, that was me. I was coming out and sticking everything. And the coaches were like, ‘We just want to round it, we just want to round it.’ Slowly but surely, I started rounding everything. The route still looks good, but it just doesn’t have that crispness about it.”
As for Patterson’s speed, that’s a given. “If you see the back of his jersey, you might a well stop running, because it’s over,” Jennings said.
The Vikings have been trying to keep expectations low for Patterson as a rookie. With first-round phenoms like Randy Moss in 1998 and Percy Harvin in 2009, too much pressure to excel could turn Patterson into another Troy Williamson. Vikings fans would surely settle for something in between, since that would mean the offensive has discovered balance.