This week the 2-2 Vikings take their bye and, like a layabout fantasy owner sending out feelers and soliciting offers for their bench players whilst awaiting their latte, they are reportedly fielding inquiries from more than one team about moving WR/RB/KR Cordarrelle Patterson. Per Benjamin Allbright -
Have heard the #Vikings have solicited more than one team about interest in Patterson.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) October 6, 2015
The Tennessee product was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1st round, 29th overall of the 2013 NFL Draft. The 24 year old has played in 31/32 games his first two seasons in the league, with his rookie year being the more compelling, particularly as a kick returner. In 2013, Patterson was 45/469/4 as a WR, 12/158/3 as a RB, and 43/1,393/2 as a kick returner, including this 109 yard return against the Green Bay Packers.
The 6’2, 220 pound speed demon ran a 4.42 40 yard dash at the combine and posted a respectable 37" vertical – Size and numbers almost identical to now-exiled super receiver Josh Gordon. Of course as is often the case, raw data and performance at the professional level are seldom congruent. Patterson saw a considerable decline in production his 2014 sophomore campaign, posting 33/384/1 as a WR, 10/117/1 as a RB, and 34/871/0 as a KR.
Unfortunately for Patterson, 2015 has only been worse.
Christopher Gates over at the Daily Norseman contends that though starting WRs Charles Johnson and Jarius Wright were hobbled against the Broncos last week, the emergence of rookie Stefon Diggs (10 targets) and Adam Thielen (8 targets) portends the most limited role Patterson has yet seen in his young career (one 9 yard reception on 3 targets). At this point in the season it’s less that Patterson is unproductive than that he has been practically phased-out, receiving few targets and playing limited snaps.
So, where do the Saints come in? I think it’s a fairly straightforward observation. Our receivers are not getting the kind of separation needed to adequately test opposing secondaries. While it doesn’t help that Brees is presently hampered with a recovering rotator cuff injury, the transparent manner in which teams have consistently taken the Saints primary receiving threat, Brandin Cooks, out of each game thus far this season has been maddening.
Sophomore receiver Willie Snead, having bounced around from the Browns to a tryout with the Giants and then a short stint on the Panthers practice squad last season, has surprisingly transitioned from what was expected to be a complementary to a primary role. Per Rotowire.com, after the first quarter of the season, Snead has reeled in 16 catches on 22 targets (10.9 YPT) for 240 yards and a TD, leading fellow WRs Brandin Cooks (215 yds), Marques Colston (147 yds), and Brandon Coleman (113 yds/1 TD).
The Saints RBs have had a slight impact on the passing game, with Mark Ingram posting 203 yards, C.J. Spiller with 140, and Khiry Robinson with 73. Though I expect this number to improve relative to Brees regaining arm strength, the potential is there for the Saints offense to reclaim the #1 position in total offense from 2014, creating even more opportunities in the run game as well.
Of course, the elephant in the room – Ok, so, what will this cost us? Depends. What flavor of potato chips does Mike Zimmer like? I kid. Salary burden notwithstanding, the Vikings got Mike Wallace and a 7th-round pick from the Dolphins in exchange for a fifth round pick. The Jets also gave a fifth round pick to get receiver Brandon Marshall from the Bears. My guess is that the Saints would give nothing higher than a 5th for Patterson considering his youth and rookie contract, though it would likelier be a 6th. But, who knows really – The Saints just traded away DE Akiem Hicks for Patriots back up TE Michael Hoomanawanui.