The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Vikings News

August 10, 2013

Patterson has impressive debut

(Continued)

His athleticism has been apparent from the first time he set foot on the practice field, but he has also started to show coaches and teammates in training camp that his learning curve might not be as steep as initially believed.

"He came in and everyone knew he was raw," quarterback Christian Ponder said last week. "Within two weeks we saw a difference during OTAs in what he did. There's still some room for improvement. I think he's made a lot of progress already."

After his big return got things started, Patterson hauled in a 22-yard completion on a square-in where he was able to catch the ball and bounce off a defensive back to pick up a few extra yards. Later in the drive, Patterson caught an 18-yard pass and capped his night with an 11-yard catch near the sideline that required him to tip-toe just before going out of bounds.

"The rookie had a great, great game, man," receiver Jerome Simpson said. "I'm so proud of him, especially coming in your first NFL game with a great kickoff return like that. He caught some great balls out there. Man, he looked really good."

Patterson is the first to say that he has a long way to go, and Ponder said that the young receiver would have to learn that it takes more than just superior athletic gifts to be a success in the NFL.

"The system and what we do, everyone depends on everyone else," Ponder said. "If you don't run a route a certain way, it's going to affect everyone else. We need everybody to be perfect in what they're doing."

Patterson grabbed Vikings fans' attention the day after he was drafted when he chose to wear No. 84, the same number Randy Moss wore during two stints here and a number that is still revered despite the many headaches Moss caused.

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