June 25, 2024

Oct 9, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) celebrates his touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Texans 31-13. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins, a prominent figure in Skol Nation during his six-year tenure with the Vikings, has departed the organization and moved to the NFC South, which is considered a division with potential for success. He now faces the challenge of leading the Falcons to the playoffs following three consecutive seasons with a 7-10 record. Additionally, Pro Bowl defender Danielle Hunter has joined forces with Will Anderson, the third overall selection in the 2023 draft, creating a formidable duo for the team.

Several former Vikings players have transitioned to new teams, including linebacker Eric Kendricks, who will now be part of the Dallas Cowboys under the guidance of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Another notable move is star returner Cordarrelle Patterson, a first-round pick in 2013, who recently joined Mike Tomlin’s Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ian Rapoport reported on X that Cordarrelle Patterson, a standout returner with All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors, is set to join the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sources indicate that he will sign a two-year contract worth $6 million. This move comes as the NFL has made changes to its kickoff rules, making Patterson’s signing with the Steelers particularly strategic.

In the 2013 draft, general manager Rick Spielman orchestrated a trade with the New England Patriots to acquire the dynamic playmaker from Tennessee. Cordarrelle Patterson, known for his speed and versatility, compiled 308 rushing yards and 778 receiving yards in his lone season at Tennessee. He scored eight touchdowns from scrimmage and added two more as a return specialist.

Patterson wasted no time making an impact in the NFL, recording his first return touchdown of 105 yards in just his second game. Midway through his rookie season, he achieved another remarkable feat with a 109-yard return, which remains tied for the longest play in NFL history.

During his tenure with the Vikings spanning 64 games, Cordarrelle Patterson accumulated 333 rushing yards and 1,316 receiving yards. While he didn’t develop into the dynamic wide receiver Minnesota had envisioned, he quickly established himself as one of the league’s top kick returners. Patterson showcased his elite return skills by scoring five of his 16 touchdowns for the Vikings on kick returns, a feat that ties him for the franchise record in kick return touchdowns.

Throughout his NFL career, Cordarrelle Patterson has amassed nine kick return touchdowns, the most in league history. After the Vikings did not extend his rookie contract, he had stints with the Raiders and Patriots, with the latter converting him to a running back. He then spent two seasons with the Bears before joining the Falcons for three seasons.

During his time in Atlanta, Patterson played a significant role as both a kick returner and running back under former head coach Arthur Smith, who is now the offensive coordinator for the Steelers. Patterson experienced his highest usage as a running back in 2021 and 2022 while playing in Smith’s offensive system.

After spending 11 years in the NFL, Cordarrelle Patterson has amassed 2,511 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns, along with 2,795 receiving yards and 16 receiving touchdowns. His record-setting performance in kick return touchdowns positions him as a potential Hall of Fame candidate, particularly given Devin Hester’s induction, which highlighted the significance of return specialists in football history.

In Pittsburgh, Patterson is expected to contribute both on offense and as a kick returner. With the updated kickoff rules likely leading to more return opportunities, he can showcase his skills in this aspect of the game as well.

Throughout his career, Patterson has been recognized with numerous accolades, including four Pro Bowl selections, four first-team All-Pro honors, and three second-team All-Pro recognitions. Additionally, he was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2010s, solidifying his status as one of the top players in his position during that era.

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