MINNEAPOLIS — Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer pulled Cordarrelle Patterson aside this week, giving him a pep talk in advance of Monday's matchup against the Giants.
"I talked to him during the week and told him, 'We're going to get you in the game plan, but now what you do with it is up to you,'" Zimmer said. "He responded well and keeps working hard."
Patterson was all over the field in Minnesota's 24-10 win. He returned kicks, covered punts, logged catches and even got a carry out of the backfield against New York.
The 2013 first-round pick tallied 69 combined yards on seven total touches between offense and special teams.
"At practice we were working on a lot of different things this week," Patterson said. "I was just excited to be out there … it felt good."
Patterson made an early impact as a gunner on punt coverage in the first quarter, using his superb speed to close in on Giants punt returner Dwayne Harris near New York's 40-yard line.
With Patterson hovering near him, Harris promptly muffed the punt, and the ball was recovered by Minnesota's Marcus Sherels.
"I put my hand out when I saw he didn't fair catch it," Patterson said. "I thought I ran past him, but then I looked back, and the ball was on the ground.
"I love being the gunner," he later added. "Anything I can do to help this team win, I'm going to go out there and contribute my best."
Added Zimmer: "The first points of the game were basically because he forced a fumble. That was huge, and he's taken a lot of ownership in that."
On the first play after the forced fumble Patterson took a screen pass and powered his way for a 21-yard gain that helped set up Matt Asiata's 1-yard touchdown run.
Patterson finished with five catches for 38 yards. Two of his receptions went for first downs.
He also added a 2-yard rush and a 29-yard kickoff return, as the do-it-all speedster had an impact all over the field.
Patterson's unselfish attitude hasn't gone unnoticed by his teammates.
"He's working hard," said Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes. "He's out there playing hard and in practice, he's asking about the game.
"There's a lot Cordarrelle can offer for this team," he added. "He's been offering a lot with this team with kickoff returns and then putting him at receiver."
Said Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen: "He's a heck of a football player. He's going to continue to work hard and keep making plays for us."
In Zimmer's mind, Patterson's hard work has earned him playing time.
"He keeps working hard. I think that's good for all guys to see," Zimmer said. "If you work hard, good things come.
"You keep fighting, you keep working and you get your opportunity and you take advantage of it," he added.
The Vikings crowd went crazy during pregame festivities as former Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss sounded the Gjallarhorn.
But by the end of Monday night, the Minnesota faithful were talking about another No. 84 in Purple.
"Patience is key to success … you never know what's going to happen," Patterson said. "When your number gets called, just be ready for it.
"I talk to the coaches all the time, and they tell me that when your number is up, make sure you ready," he added. "Remember where you need to be and just do everything you can to help this team."