In the NFC North, there are few true playmakers that have the ability to cause a headache quite like Cordarrelle Patterson of the Minnesota Vikings.
Not only is Patterson a first-class receiver, he can affect the running game on sweeps and is always a threat to take a kickoff or punt back to the end zone. As a result of this versatility, Patterson is perhaps the toughest player to game plan for in the division.
The Detroit Lions, for the most part, have done a good job holding him down since he joined the league. This season, Patterson didn’t make a difference in Minnesota’s first contest with Detroit, only collecting 32 total yards in all three facets of the game.
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Though Detroit’s defensive line did a good job in beating up rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, the limitation of Patterson did as much to keep the Vikings’ offense down than anything else. The Lions won the game 17-3 and frustrated Minnesota throughout.
As the battle shifts to Ford Field, Patterson will once again be the focal point. Even though the receiver has seen his impact slip collecting a total of 45 yards in the last four weeks combined and has gotten frustrated with his role in the offense, Detroit’s secondary cannot afford to sleep on him.
With plenty of speed and moves, Patterson is a constant threat to score no matter who’s playing quarterback or what trouble the offense might be having. All Bridgewater could need is a split-second to get him the ball out of the backfield, and a close game could be dramatically changed with one long run.
Detroit’s defensive backfield has to do a good job of swarming to Patterson like they did in October, keeping him in front of them. Only a few mistakes could allow a game breaker to slip free and make a few significant plays. It will be a significant task for Darius Slay, Rashean Mathis and company this week.
Detroit’s defensive backfield has to do a good job of swarming to Patterson like they did in October, keeping him in front of them.
Career, Patterson has burned the Lions twice, once on the ground and through the air, and has a total of 112 yards combined against them, and 120 on special teams. While those numbers might not look overwhelming, there’s enough talent there to offer plenty of concern for Detroit, especially in a vital end of season game.
One kickoff return, bust in coverage or mistake with Patterson could help push the Vikings over the top, and provide the team with an important in-game lift. That’s the main advantage posed by having a player with his speed and ability level on the field constantly.
Patterson hasn’t made his normal noise in 2014, but that doesn’t mean Detroit can afford to take him lightly, either. He’s a dangerous game breaker that could still mean the difference between a win or a loss.