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Monday Morning Mailbag: Patterson's Stock On The Rise?

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Coach Zimmer recently said that he is impressed with what he has been seeing out of Cordarrelle Patterson so far but did not go into a lot of detail. I was wondering if you could go into greater detail of what the buzz is around Patterson right now. -- Kurt Chollett

I can't speak for coach Zimmer, but I did hear him talk about this last week while at the Vikings Children's Fund Golf Tournament and I agree with his assessment of Patterson during the offseason program. Patterson has been in the program every step of the way, and that's after having put in a lot of work away from the facility before the offseason program started. Over the last couple weeks of OTAs, he's made a lot of plays during the 11-on-11 periods, he's running solid routes and he's had a great attitude; he's always one of the most fun guys to interview. I know a lot of people are quick to write him off and may not be expecting much from him in 2016, but I actually have the opposite viewpoint on him and think, if he continues to look the way he's looked the last couple months, he'll help the Vikings a lot in 2016.

With the Vikings upgrading their WR corps and their OL, how much of an increase from 22.8 points per game can we make? -- Evan Beckford

For some reason my mind immediately goes to the 26.0 range when I think about this question. Last year, the Cincinnati Bengals and NY Giants were at 26.2 points per game and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks were both at 26.4. I like how the offense is shaping up and I don't see any reason why they can't produce at that type of level, or even better. The difference between what the Vikings did last year and that 26.0 level is 3.2 points per game, which over a 16-game season is about 50 points – another 7 TDs. Where do those 7 additional TDs come from? Adrian had 11 last year and that is one below his average. With the beef the Vikings have added to the OL this offseason, I think it's fair to expect at least the average from Adrian this year plus a little more, so we'll give him 13. Teddy threw 14 TDs last year and I think a natural next step would be to get in the 20 range this year, so there's another 6 additional TDs. That would give the Vikings what they need to jump from 22.8 to 26.0, plus a little more. It's only speculation and it could certainly transpire much differently than how I just laid it out, but it's fun to look at it that way. At the end of the day, the name of the game is winning. Some games the offense needs to score 34 points to help the team win, other games the offense needs to take care of the ball, chew the clock and score 23 points to help win the game. Whatever it takes to help get the W, that's what the offense will try to do.

Do you think Teddy is ready for a bigger role? We fans have only seen glimpses of Teddy's full skill set and I'm curious if you think he'll find success throwing intermediate and long passes with a beefed up and healthy offensive line. -- Nolan Murakami

There's no question in my mind he's ready for an increased role. People like to talk about all sorts of different things when it comes to QBs, from arm strength to yards per attempt to completion percentage. But the one thing that matters the most is wins. Does the QB win games. Teddy did that last year – he was the starting QB of a team that won 11 games and a division title. He did a lot of things right along the way, too. One reason I believe Teddy is ready to take the next step is that the Vikings did a lot to improve the pass protection, and a protected Teddy Bridgewater means a productive Teddy Bridgewater. According to my quick research, Teddy has started 8 games in which he's been sacked one or zero times. In those 8 games, Teddy has a 7-4 TD-INT ratio, has completed 64.3% of his passes, has a 7.36 yards per attempt average and, most importantly, is 8-0. That's pretty dang good.

Do you feel like I do that the Vikings QB situation is better than it has been in years in terms of decent quality depth? -- Duane Beach

Yes, the depth at the QB spot for the Vikings is solid. You have to like what you have in the starter and you expect him to be even better in Year 3. Shaun Hill is a capable veteran backup who can help mold the young starter and even have a great influence on the third QB. That third QB is Taylor Heinicke, who showed a lot of good things in training camp and the preseason last year. Heinicke was a gamer in college, and while he doesn't have prototypical size for the position he does have something in spades that matters a great deal – competitiveness.

Are there any rookies that most people would not expect to make the roster but who potentially could make it? -- David Meyer

I don't know what people expect from TE David Morgan, but you can understand if it wasn't much. The top three TEs from last year are all coming back, plus Brian Leonhardt was signed in free agency. So most would easily look past the 6th-round TE who was drafted out of UT-San Antonio. I like how Morgan plays, though, and I think he has a chance to contribute on special teams, as well.

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