Coming into the season, there were high expectations for a receiver that was bold enough to choose the number 84 in Minnesota. His playmaking ability that was flashed at the University of Tennessee made people think that his potential could be reached early in his career.
Nine games into the 2013 season, Patterson has been strangely absent from the Viking offense. Despite leading the league in kickoff return yardage, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave hasn't found a way to get his explosive receiver into the game plan.
While that could be because of Patterson's inability to pick up the playbook (which was a knock on him during the draft process), it's still mind-blowing that an offense that's as creative as a can of Chef Boyardee for dinner can't find a way to utilize his talents.
Perhaps Jerome Simpson can help make "Wild" Bill's job easier.
The veteran receiver was picked up for DWI on November 8 and had a lengthy talk with head coach Leslie Frazier about the situation after being released on bond. While Simpson expects to play in Week 11 against the Seattle Seahawks, that's not a given considering the circumstances.
What Simpson is battling is that he's in the final season of his contract for a bad team. He hasn't done enough for the Vikings' passing attack to make him indispensable, and the team could be looking to other options with eyes on 2014.
Simpson is also going against the Viking brain trust, who has made a major effort to clean up their image after Bryant McKinnie tarnished it with a boat load of strippers in 2005. While the number of Viking arrests have gone down in recent years, they'll take Simpson's offense seriously which could lead to a sudden deactivation for Week 11 and beyond.
For whatever the reason, there is still the elephant in the room when it comes to the battle between Patterson and Simpson: Patterson is the better player.
In the preseason, there were mental mistakes made by Patterson such as lining up in the wrong spot and running the wrong route. But those mistakes were made up for with his video game moves once he had the ball in his hands. The same things can not be said for Simpson, who has squandered two opportunities to take a starting receiver job and run with it.
In a lost season, it's time for the Vikings to look for the future. By finally starting Patterson, the team will be doing that while giving Musgrave one last chance to show that he knows how to use an offensive weapon.
This is a move that should have been made a long time ago, but it's never too late to give someone with Patterson's talent an opportunity. With Simpson's recent arrest, it may have been the opening that Patterson needs to break through.
Chris Schad is a lifelong Vikings follower that has seen triumph and heartbreak for the franchise over 27 seasons. His work has also been published on Bleacher Report and Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter @crishad.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Minnesota Vikings
- Cordarrelle Patterson
- Jerome Simpson
- Bill Musgrave