Coming off a 7-9 season that saw a marked improvement from the defense and the emergence of rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater under the guidance of first-year head coach Mike Zimmer and his staff, the Vikings are going in the right direction. While the 2014 season produced reasons for promise, there are also reasons to expect more in 2015.
View the top 30 images of Vikings wide receivers from the 2014 season.
Atop the list of aspects that left fans wanting more was the performance of WR Cordarrelle Patterson. Coming off a rookie season in 2013 that saw him instantly become the NFL's best kickoff returner and eventually saw him emerge as a dynamic offensive threat, preseason expectations wound up dwarfing in-season results.
But there's good news for 2015. "Flash" is poised for a big jump in 2015. Here are three reasons why.
1. Finally, some familiarity with the offensive systemThis offseason will be the first time in four years that Patterson will work within the same offensive system as the season prior. He's gone from a junior college program, to the University of Tennessee, to the Vikings with Leslie Frazier/Bill Musgrave, to a second season with the Vikings under Zimmer/Norv Turner. Finally, Patterson will be in the same offense for consecutive seasons, and that will provide him the opportunity to use past experiences to prepare for future opportunities.
2. With wide receivers, it takes time (ask Demaryius Thomas and Roddy White)Patterson certainly isn't the first receiver to be taken in the first round who took a couple seasons to fully hit his stride and start profoundly impacting games on a regular basis. The chart below illustrates the performance of two recent first-round receivers – Roddy White (No. 27, 2005) and Demaryius Thomas (No. 22, 2010) – in comparison to Patterson (No. 29, 2013).