Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier insists that rookie wideout Cordarrelle Patterson should get more playing time, according to Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Thus far in 2013, the former Tennessee standout has appeared in only 9 percent of Minnesota's offensive snaps. Coming off a narrow loss to Chicago on Sunday, the 0-2 Vikings could use a spark.
"Cordarrelle is a playmaker," said Frazier. "He should be out there. We've just got to get him on the field."
Though Patterson has touched the ball just eight times in the regular season, he has already hit pay dirt once -- a 105-yard kickoff return in Week 2 against Chicago. As a junior at Tennessee, Patterson fueled the Volunteer offense in a variety of ways, scoring through the air, on the ground and on special teams. That caliber of playmaker is what Minnesota was looking for when it traded up to draft Patterson with the 29th overall pick in April.
The Vikings were also looking to replace Percy Harvin, who managed to outshine even Adrian Peterson for the first few games of the 2012 season. Despite playing just four seasons in Minnesota, Harvin had established himself as one of the most exciting players in team history. Like Patterson, he plagued defenses as a receiver, rusher and return man. Before being traded to the Seahawks in March, Harvin had accrued 29 total touchdowns for the Vikes.
Patterson's inability to get on the field has been two-fold: Frazier's reliance on a pair of veteran receivers and Minnesota's distaste for passing the ball. Jerome Simpson and newly-acquired Greg Jennings bring a veteran presence and sure-handedness that most rookie receivers can't provide. Leslie Frazier sleeps well knowing these two can take care of the football and be on the same page with quarterback Christian Ponder. Also, the Vikings pass the ball just over 52 percent of the time, good for 26th in the league through two weeks. They finished 28th in 2012.
When the Vikings do run the ball, they hand it to world-beater Peterson. But that is no excuse for keeping Patterson out of the backfield. Harvin averaged almost 1.5 carries per game in seasons during which Peterson was healthy, giving an explosive player a chance to work in space without having to worry about route-running or gelling with Ponder.
With Patterson deemed an "oversight" thus far in 2013, the Vikings should (and will) adjust their offense to allow their rookie wideout to drive defenses as nuts as Harvin did a year ago.