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Vikings GM sings the praises of Cordarrelle Patterson's improvement

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The Minnesota Vikings report to training camp on Thursday. If the offseason has been any indicator, one of the positions to watch the most will be wide receiver – particularly Cordarrelle Patterson.

To say Patterson has been a disappointment since his promising rookie season would be an understatement. Last season, the former 2013 first-round draft pick had just two catches for 10 yards, and the Vikings have chosen not to exercise the fifth-year option on his contract.

While Patterson has continued to be a dominant kickoff returner he hasn't really developed into the wide receiver the team had hoped he would.

But his big play ability has some wondering – including Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman – if Patterson can bring that element back to the Vikings offense.

"Where Cordarrelle has made tremendous strides this year is on his route running ability and becoming a better receiver," Spielman told "He is very tuned in and very focused trying to prove to everybody, including himself, that he's going to be not just a great athlete with the football in his hands, but a true receiver in the NFL."

Earlier during the spring Patterson acknowledged that he hasn't always worked as hard as he was capable of, noting that he knows he needs to step it up now.

Spielman added that Patterson has done a nice job integrating himself into the offense during the offseason. While even Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has publicly praised how hard Patterson's been working.

But as Pro Football Talk notes, Stefon Diggs and this year's first-round pick Laquon Treadwell are expected to have big roles in the Vikings' offense.

With Jarius Wright, Charles Johnson and Adam Thielen all back from last season Patterson will need to show a consistent ability to make all kinds of plays if he wants to be in the offensive mix.

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