Aug 8, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) carries the ball during the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
No win comes easy, and like New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan put it during Friday’s press conference, “The first win is the hardest one to get.” Well, that’s certainly been the case through the first two weeks of the regular season, but luckily, the Black and Gold have a favorable matchup against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday to open up their season at home.
However, even with Adrian Peterson out, the Vikings still have some talent that needs to be contained. All fingers point to Minnesota’s No. 29 overall pick in 2013, second-year WR Cordarrelle Patterson.
One of the best young talents in the National Football League, Patterson, as a rookie, was selected to the Pro Bowl as a kick returner and was even named the starter on the Associated Press All-Pro team. In an interview earlier this week, Saints’ head coach Sean Payton said the former Tennessee Volunteer is just as explosive as any other player in the NFL.
He’s a a freak athlete that can be utilized in many different ways. Since kicking off his professional career last season, Patterson has tallied 52 receptions, 551 receiving yards, 260 rushing yards, a staggering 1,464 return yards and ten total touchdowns.
2014 is expected to be his breakout year with an excellent chance of surpassing the 1,000-yard mark as a receiver. The former track and field star is quick, versatile, explosive and has outstanding hands, so how can he be contained?
While stopping him is going to be a tough task to pull off, it is the job for CB Keenan Lewis. Patterson has the ability to easily separate from his defenders, especially on vertical routes that go for big yards. Well, Lewis has the ability to stick to his opposition like glue through speed, great ball skills and excellent change of direction, emerging as one of the league’s premiere shutdown corners in 2014.
Other than maybe Richard Sherman vs. Demaryius Thomas when the Seattle Seahawks host the Denver Broncos, Lewis vs. Patterson is one of the most intriguing cornerback/wide receiver matchups of the week.
Along with Cam Jordan and Junior Galette bringing the heat, Keenan will be the other “x-factor” on defense. He’s certainly got his work cut out for him, but this is the guy you want defending a speedy wideout such as Patterson. With an energizing fan base in the Big Easy, the D is in good hands.
With Adrian Peterson out, that takes a load off the New Orleans defense, so administering pressure on the quarterback to try and force turnovers and keeping the lid on Cordarrelle should be the main focuses for Rob Ryan’s unit. The Saints are favored by ten, and with distractions surrounding the Vikings at the moment, the team is vulnerable.
Again, no win is guaranteed, but there is no reason why the Saints shouldn’t have their way with Minnesota in the Superdome in front of an electrifying crowd for the first home game of the season. A big win would be a great confidence booster and the beginning to a turnaround after a slow start to the year. Our season starts Sunday, Who Dat Nation.