Patriots passed on Cordarrelle Patterson – and he remembers


I've got a trade proposal for you, think about it: outside linebacker Jamie Collins, cornerback Logan Ryan and wide receiver Josh Boyce for Cordarrelle Patterson?

What you're getting: a 6-foot-3, 250-pound linebacker who racked up 43 tackles in 16 games (eight of them started) was a rookie last year; a second-year cornerback from Rutgers who now comes in during nickel situations for New England after hauling in five interceptions and 10 passes defended in 2013; and a small-ish, speedy practice squad wide receiver.

All that for arguably the NFL's premiere kick returner and offensive playmaker, 23-year-old Viking Cordarrelle Patterson.

Do we have a deal?

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The Vikings and Patriots did in April of 2013, near the end of the NFL draft's first round.

The Vikings sent a pick from the second, third, fourth and seventh round that year in exchange for New England's No. 29, aka Patterson.

(Note: The Patriots seventh-round selection the Patriots received was traded to the Buccaneers for one-year rental running back LeGarrette Blount. Tampa Bay then traded it back to the Vikings, who selected defensive tackle Everett Dawkins there. Dawkins is no longer on the Minnesota roster.)

Nearly 17 months later, the Vikings have one of the NFL's most exciting players taking the field every game.

And the Patriots trot out Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson at wide receiver. Safety Patrick Chung is the kick returner.

But they do have two defensive starters and a raw practice squad player.

“We made the decision based on what we felt was best for our team,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichek said Thursday, according to the Star Tribune. “That’s what we always do. We felt like at that time it would be the best thing for our team, and that’s what we did.”

Patterson is using that message for his own purposes.

"[T]hat's the kind of things that stick in the back of a player's head," Patterson said Thursday, according to the Pioneer Press. "And you get out there, you just want to beat the defense up since people say things like that."

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Not that Belichek doesn't appreciate Patterson's talent.

"Patterson is obviously an explosive guy," Belichek said at a Wednesday press conference. "You see that in the return game. He’s a deep threat. He’s dangerous with the ball in his hands, whether you hand it to him or throw it to him on a short pass. ... He’s a strong player, kind of like [Adrian] Peterson – big, strong, hard to tackle, good speed, at a different position."

Belichek said "of course" the organization evaluated Patterson going into the draft; they evaluate every player.

They'll get the chance to do so again Sunday, this time up close.

"I'm sure that they'll get him the ball in ways that maybe we haven't seen or just opportunities to get him in space," Belichek said Tuesday. "I'm sure that offensively they'll find some ways to get it to him, whether it's throwing it to him or handing it to him or slip screens or whatever.

As for Patterson, he told the Associated Press he'll have a bit more motivation when the ball does get into his hands.

"It's always good to have that chip on your shoulder," he said, "just to go out there and just try to execute [against] the teams that didn't even pick you when they said they wanted you."

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