Cordarrelle Patterson only touched the ball a handful of times Sunday in Jacksonville, but the wide receiver and kick returner delivered when it mattered most.
Matthew Coller of 1500ESPN.com looked at Patterson's play and liked what he saw from the 2013 first-round pick.
Patterson's role in Sunday's win over the Jacksonville Jaguars was emblematic of what he brings to the table. In the first quarter, he returned a kick 53 yards to set up a field goal. The former Tennessee Volunteer currently leads the NFL in kick returning at 31.7 yards per return.
*If he finishes in first place in the NFL in yards per return, it will mark the third time in his four-year career that he has ranked No. 1 in returning. While the NFL does appear to be diminishing the role of returners (Patterson has just 20 returns this year), having a player who can score several touchdowns or create multiple starts on the other side of the 50 per year is still meaningful. *
Patterson also had three catches for 18 yards, but his last reception was crucial in helping the Vikings seal a win over the Jaguars.
One of his three catches was an 11-yard gain on 3rd-and-10 at the Jacksonville 28-yard line late in the fourth quarter. Patterson battled for extra yards, shrugging a defender to get past the marker. His extra effort set up a Vikings touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph that put the game away at 25-16.
Defensive line dominant again
Minnesota's defensive ends made their presence felt in Sunday's win over Jacksonville.
Everson Griffen, Brian Robison and Danielle Hunter combined for all of the Vikings 4.0 sacks in a 25-16 victory over the Jaguars.
Griffen had 2.0 sacks on Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles and has 8.0 on the season. Robison had a sack and now has 7.0 on the season. Hunter had a sack and leads the Vikings with 10.5 in his second year.
Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune looked back at Sunday's game and the impact Minnesota's entire defensive line made.
Griffen and the Vikings defensive line *are still a wrecking crew. There were times (Jaguars wide receiver) Allen Robinson was left wide open because Bortles was scrambling away from Griffen, who would've had three sacks had his grip not slipped in the second quarter when Bortles evaded for a five-yard scramble.*
Griffen's repertoire of pass rushing moves has grown tremendously in three years under this coaching staff, and he owned the matchup with Kelvin Beachum on Sunday. Shamar Stephen, the 2014 seventh-round pick, hasn't received enough attention for his improvement as a run defender. He had another strong day in Jacksonville on 27 snaps (41 percent).
Robison led the defensive line with 57 snaps (86 percent). The 33-year-old team captain is on pace to surpass 75-plus percent of snaps for the sixth consecutive season.* *