Patterson was an easy player to dismiss on waivers earlier in October. Stefon Diggs was not 100%, Charles Johnson looked lost, and the Vikings clearly didn’t think Laquon Treadwell was ready. The Vikings are clearly starting to take him seriously; we probably should too!
Patterson has now strung together a three week stretch in which he has hauled in 16 of his 18 targets, netting 153 total yards and finding pay dirt twice. Take that catch percentage with a grain of salt as a large portion of them are near the line of scrimmage, but at 8 yards per target he will continue to get them and he’s been given 7 opportunities in each of the last three games. Is he ever going to fulfill the hope owners had for him when he was drafted in the 1st round in 2013? No, and while the Vikings can be criticized for taking more than three years to figure out how to effectively using him, the point is they are now and there’s good reason to believe it will continue. With Adrian Peterson on the shelf and the previously noted issues in the wide receiver corps, the Vikings have needed to get more creative on the offensive side of the ball and Patterson is their answer. So far, that answer is working.
All that said, this is probably not a long term solution. The Vikings declined Patterson’s 5th year option in May, so he is a free agent at season’s end. He probably won’t be back with Minnesota next year and who knows where he will end up and how he will be used. This isn’t a long term game though; worry about tomorrow just then – tomorrow. The bye weeks and injuries are starting to accumulate and the Vikings have three favorable matchups coming up the next three weeks. Take advantage of them.