To fill it, Oakland dipped into the free-agent pool Monday night with the signing of Cordarrelle Patterson, the blazing-fast former Vikings wide receiver and return specialist whose addition should help to improve a unit that failed to score a punt or kick return touchdown in 2016.
Cordarrelle Patterson's up-and-down Vikings tenure is over.
Of course, if Oakland's receivers continue having trouble holding on to the ball, as they have for the last couple of seasons, it's possible that Patterson - should they sign him - could see a couple more targets coming his way. He caught 52 passes last season and also was the NFL's top kick returner in yards per return. While he is beginning to be known as a nice receiver, Patterson has always been known as a force to be reckoned with in the kick return game. His kick returning skills should bolster a special teams unit that was in the middle of the pack last season, and, if he can figure out the trick-of-the-trade of running routes in the National Football League, then he may be one of the steals of free agency.
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When putting the period on Patterson's Vikings career, there is plenty of blame to go around. The Raiders last returned a kick for a touchdown in 2011, when Jacoby Ford did it against Cleveland. "I need to know if I'm going to play or not". As a third or fourth receiver on his new team behind Pro Bowler Amari Cooper and the veteran Michael Crabtree, Patterson can find himself open in the slot or on shorter passing routes.
"So, a guy like that, I appreciate taking time out of his day to send me a text when he didn't have to", Patterson said. But the fact that the Raiders signed Patterson just adds another dynamic weapon to this Raiders special teams unit, and to this team altogether, which has drastically changed its identity over the past 2 seasons. "It's not something you shy from, because they're there and they're paid to get sacks". I'm just excited to team up with all those guys over there.