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Minnesota’s wide receiver Patterson exudes confidence

MANKATO, Minn. — Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson already considers himself a “Rising Star.” Sports Illustrated is putting it in print.

The magazine has an annual “Rising Stars” series, which profiles expected breakthrough athletes in multiple sports. Patterson is featured in that category in an upcoming issue.

“If they say it, of course I’m going to agree with them,” Patterson said Wednesday at training camp at Minnesota State-Mankato.

It’s anticipated by many that Patterson really will break out in his second season. Patterson last year led the NFL in kickoff returns as a rookie with a 32.4 average, but had more modest receiving stats with 45 catches for 469 yards.

Patterson, though, was much more productive from scrimmage late in the season. That included scoring three touchdowns apiece on the ground and through the air in December, and a game that month at Baltimore when he had five catches for 141 yards.

As he has gotten better, Patterson has talked a bigger game. But he does so not in a braggadocious way, and always with a smile on his face.

“It’s always a way to stop someone, but I feel like when I get the ball, just get out of my way,” Patterson said Wednesday. “Just let me get in the end zone, please.”

When Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator from 2007-13, the Bengals had some receivers who loved to jabber in Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens. While Zimmer didn’t mention anyone by name, it sure seems he likes better the type of confidence Patterson has, one that doesn’t make him seem cocky.

“Honestly, it’s great,” Zimmer said. “He’s confident, but he’s not like a couple of guys we had in Cincinnati. He’s pretty respectful about it. He works hard, and he’s a young evolving player still. So I like it.”

Patterson often speaks about the battles he has in practice with defensive backs. During minicamp last month, he let it be known how he believed he stacked up against cornerback Captain Munnerlyn.

“He’s good, but I’m up 2-0 on him because I beat him one-on-one twice and he hasn’t gotten me yet,” Patterson said.

Vikings safety Kurt Coleman has exchanged some playful words with Patterson. He has no problem with the way the wide receiver talks himself up.

“He has all the tools and attributes to be a really good player, and I think you’ve got to have to walk on that edge of cocky and confident,” Coleman said. “And he does, and he plays and performs well. The bottom line is if you’re going to talk, you got to back it up and he does.”

Patterson had missed the first two days of training camp with a foot injury and was limited for the next two days. But Patterson returned Wednesday to do team drills for the first time.

Patterson said his foot felt fine. Naturally, his mouth also felt fine during practice.

The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.