The Minnesota Vikings may have made the biggest splash of any team in Round 1 of the 2013 NFL draft. Having already made two first-round picks, the Vikings traded back up into the first round, giving up second- (No. 52 overall), third- (No. 83 overall), fourth- (No. 102 overall, from Detroit Lions) and seventh-round (No. 229 overall) picks all to the New England Patriots for the No. 29 overall selection, giving them the chance to add a much-needed playmaker to their passingoffense in Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
With the size and speed of a deep threat but the dynamic open-field quickness of a slot receiver, Patterson has a unique skill set that could set him up for stardom. He is a dangerous player with the ball in his hands who can turn any play into a big play with his speed and ability to make defenders miss in the open field.
Whether Patterson becomes the star he can be could depend on his ability to become a better route runner and pick up the mental aspects of the Vikings' offense. He only has one year of major college football experience, and does not have much experience running complex routes. He also needs to become a more consistent at catching the ball in his hands and avoiding drops.
If he continues to develop and take advantage of his athleticism and open-field playmaking ability, Patterson has the potential to be a unique and special player, both as a downfield threat on the outside and at making plays off of screen passes, running plays and even kickoff/punt returns.
Patterson has huge potential as a fantasy football playmaker, as he is a threat to turn any play into a big play. With little talent at wide receiver outside of Greg Jennings on the Vikings' roster, Patterson should get a lot of touches in the Vikings' offense, and should give fantasy owners some big days by making big-play touchdowns.
His fantasy value will also depend on how he is used in the Vikings' offense. He is the favorite to start outside as the No. 2 receiver opposite Patterson, which should make him a frequent target for Christian Ponder in the passing offense, but if they use him creatively on running plays and as a kickoff/punt returner, he could end up being a real fantasy football steal as a mid-round draft pick.
Patterson should go into training camp as the favorite to start as the No. 2 wideout opposite Greg Jennings. He could face competition from Jerome Simpson and Greg Childs at that spot as an outside receiver, but is a much more explosive playmaker than either of them, which the Vikings really need on their offense.
He may not win the starting job if he struggles to pick up the Vikings' playbook quickly, but even if that is the case, expect him to be used situationally on passing downs, or as a runner or returner, to take advantage of his ability to make big plays in the open field.
The Vikings paid a hefty price to move up for Patterson, which leaves them without a pick until the fourth round of the draft.
He fits exactly what the Vikings needed at the wide receiver position, as he adds size and downfield speed to the position while also adding the open-field playmaking ability they lost by trading Percy Harvin. That said, he is going to need to be a star to warrant the price the Vikings gave up for him, as they may very well have given up three quality players in the middle rounds just to get one.
Patterson has the potential to be that star, and gives the Vikings two dynamic weapons on the outside of their passing offense, so this could pick could turn out to be well worth it. A boom-or-bust player though, this will go down as one of the riskier selections of the 2013 NFL Draft.