MANKATO - The Vikings had plenty to be excited about in Cordarrelle Patterson’s preseason debut, a four-catch, 54-yard effort in last week’s 27-13 loss to Houston. As offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave likes to say, confidence stems from demonstrated performance. And in Patterson’s first NFL action under the lights, he met the challenge.
All of the rookie’s receptions came from backup quarterback Matt Cassel, who targeted him eight times. The Vikings coaching staff knows Patterson has plenty of promise as a playmaker. But the coaches also still are aware the young receiver needs much more coaching as he learns to refine his route running and adjust to the nuances of the NFL.
Best of all in Friday’s effort against Houston, according to Musgrave, Patterson was on point with his assignments.
“He was where he was supposed to be,” Musgrave said. “The quarterbacks want to know that guys are going to be dependable, be at the right depth, come out at the right angle and he was that way. You could see a bunch of passes that he caught, those balls were thrown early on anticipatory throws. And quarterbacks are starting to trust him.”
The Vikings’ 15th and final training camp practice comes Wednesday. Yet on Monday, to provide a break from the grind, coach Leslie Frazier replaced the usual nightly meetings with a diversion to the Carmike Stadium Cinema.
The movie showing this year: “Red 2,” starring Bruce Willis and John Malkovich.
Joked Frazier: “I’ve had some other guys pick it before. So this time I got involved.”
It’s understandable why the head coach with the wholesome values felt obligated to intervene. The 2012 camp movie: “Ted.”
“This one was much better than last year,” cornerback Josh Robinson said. “ ‘Ted’ wasn’t good. I’m not sure [who picked that]. But I know Coach did a little research this time. … Anytime you can step away from football for a couple hours, it’s not bad.”
Linebacker Chad Greenway enjoyed the diversion.
“I ordered the biggest Cherry Coke and popcorn they would serve me,” he said. “I had to buy it, too. They [only] had free Gatorade and water.
“Thanks for that. But no, we had a good time.”
A new CJ2K?
The Vikings will play Friday night in Buffalo where the Bills are touting their top running back C.J. Spiller as a candidate to join Adrian Peterson in the 2,000-yard club.
New Bills coach Doug Marrone has vowed to feed Spiller the ball as often as he can this season. And considering Spiller averaged 6.0 yards per carry last season — identical to Peterson — on the way to 1,244 yards, perhaps this 2,000-yard push isn’t entirely outlandish.
Peterson, who calls Spiller’s objective “pretty coo,” was asked what advice he would give the Bills back if they cross paths at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Friday night.
The MVP’s reply: “Keep your knees pumping, keep your knees high. Just run every play like it’s your last play and believe you can do it off faith.”
• Frazier isn’t certain yet whether Peterson will see any action in Friday’s game. Peterson will be highly limited in the preseason and might play in only one game — either at Buffalo or Aug. 25 at San Francisco. “To be honest with you, it really doesn’t matter,” Peterson said. “I’m going to be ready to play, coming out extra hard. So if I’m going to get reps in the preseason, I’m in for it. If not I’ll still be ready to go.”
• Frazier said his goal this week is to have the first-unit offense play into the second quarter.
• Rookie linebacker Michael Mauti felt notable soreness in his left knee after Monday’s practice and was held out of Tuesday’s action. Mauti tore the ACL in that knee last November.