Every team needs a workhorse, the guy that does whatever necessary for the win. For the Oakland Raiders, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has been just that, making plays on both sides of the ball.
Through his first four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Patterson electrified as a return man and a receiver. In that span, he earned two Pro Bowl nods in 2013 and 2016. Over the last three years, he led the league in kick return average. Patterson made his way into the NFL record books as a rookie on two remarkable feats. His 109-yard kickoff return in 2013 stands as the longest in NFL history. And he’s the only player to have a 100-yard return, 75-yard touchdown catch and 50-yard rushing touchdown ever. Despite holding 12 Vikings records, the team allowed Patterson to walk in free agency this summer.
Early in free agency, the Oakland Raiders locked down Patterson on a two-year deal worth $8.5 million. Considering his immense potential and being just 26-years-old, it was well worth it. Even if the Raiders strictly brought him in for special team’s purposes, they’d have a more than capable threat, allowing running back Jalen Richard to focus on his primary job. But as the first five weeks of the season have exhibited, Patterson has taken his game to another level.
With 239 kick return yards through five games, Patterson is ranked fourth in the league. He has 9 receptions for 48 yards on 11 targets, proving to be a reliable target in needed circumstances. On the ground, he’s rushed for 69 yards on 7 carries, more yards than his last two seasons combined. On special teams, he’s proved to be a reliable gunner, with two tackles.
With early injuries hobbling star receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, Patterson has been able to line up outside or in the slot, forcing defenses to remain honest. He can also get the handoff on an end-around, or run the ball straight up the gut, as apparent by his 43-yard touchdown run against the New York Jets in week 2.
Patterson possesses the speed, size and skill to do whatever he pleases, and it’ll be up to Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing to find new ways to utilize him to exploit defenses. Either way, Patterson has proved his up to the task.
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