MANKATO, Minn. — Cordarrelle Patterson arrived at Vikings Training Camp with a spring in his step and ready to show the growth he made as a receiver through his refined offseason training.
He made a heck of a catch down the sideline during the first practice but landed hard on his shoulder and has been sidelined since.
"Coming into camp I felt good, in great shape. I had lost a couple of pounds," Patterson said during a session with media members on Monday. "It's frustrating, but God has a plan, and you can't point the finger at anybody. It's all on me. I wish it didn't happen, but everything happens for a reason. I'm going to the training room three and four times a day, trying to get healthy and ready for the season."
In addition to the full rehab work, Patterson has been cheering when his fellow receivers make plays and diving headlong into the playbook for when he is able to return to action. He didn't estimate a timeline on his return.
"I just pray about it. I talk to my family all the time and my teammates," Patterson said. "They're not going to let me slip and get behind. I'm studying plays like I've never studied before.
"Being out there and getting mental reps is good, too, but missing time is a struggle, but at the end of the day, you can't control what happens and can't control an injury," Patterson added. "Nobody wants to get injured, but things happen in life and you get your setbacks, but it's how I bounce back on it and come out stronger than I've ever been."
Patterson led the NFL in kickoff return average in 2015 (31.8 yards per runback) and was the only player to take two kickoffs to the house for touchdowns last season. That number, however, equaled his receptions total, which is something he's been working to change in 2016.
"I saw a lot of errors in my game that I could fix, so I just took a lot of time, worked with Teddy [Bridgewater] for a week, every chance I got," Patterson said. "I had a trainer I worked with this offseason as well."
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman told Vikings.com before camp started that a lot of people were asking about Patterson's development. The GM said he observed a strong spring from Patterson during the Vikings voluntary offseason workout program and organized team activity practices.
"Where Cordarrelle has made tremendous strides this year is on his route running ability and becoming a better receiver," Spielman said. "He is very tuned in and very focused trying to prove to everybody, including himself, that he's going to be not just a great athlete with the football in his hands, but a true receiver in the NFL."