Minnesota Vikings free agent WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson met with the Oakland Raiders Monday. However, Patterson already visited with Washington and the Chicago Bears during this period. He has also hinted that he wants to stay with the Vikings, per ESPN.com. Clearly, Patterson is an emerging target. Therefore, the Raiders should just sign Patterson already. (Editor’s Note: They did. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Patterson signed a two-year deal)
First, the Raiders have needed a consistently effective returner since Jacoby Ford left the roster years ago. Patterson is a two-time career All-Pro returner. He averages 30.4 yards per return over his career, with five kick returns for touchdowns. Patterson’s return value impacts games by helping out the offense’s field position. Plus, kick return touchdowns swings the momentum of a football game.
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As a receiver, Patterson could add the element of speed to the Raiders. He tallied a career-high 52 catches in 2016. He also added 453 receiving yards and two touchdowns for the Vikings last season.
As Seth Roberts returns to Oakland as expected, his role is far from certain. Patterson actually posted a higher PFF grade as the 67th ranked receiver last season. The former Vikings player registered a 67.2 accumulative grade. Unlike Roberts, who posted a 48.3 grade in 2016.
Therefore, Patterson could challenge Roberts for snaps on the inside. Further, Patterson’s 6’2″ frame and 4.4 40 could replace Raiders FA receiver Andre Holmes as the deep threat on the outside. Not to mention, the Raiders have two of the best route runners in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Cooper and Crabtree can help Patterson refine his route tree. Joining the Raiders could help Patterson run more than just bubble screens and go patterns.
Nonetheless, the 2013 29th pick said he would love to play running back. Per Twincities.com, Patterson said he just wants the ball. Patterson has 31 career carries for 333 yards and four TD. Thus, Patterson adds value to the backfield that could lose last year’s starting RB Latavius Murray in free agency.
Granted, the Raiders could’ve drafted a receiver in April. However, there is no guarantee that any NFL rookie changes games like Patterson. OC Downing could use Patterson the way the Packers do with Cobb.
Patterson’s return experience , receiver and potential running back makes him a great value. His explosion would fit in Oakland. Patterson is the explosive athlete that late Raiders owner Al Davis would have coveted.
Ultimately, the 25-year-old makes sense for the Raiders. It was time for Oakland to just sign Patterson. He slides into the third receiver role without issue. Imagine how good the offense becomes then.
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