Earlier this week, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer made a surprisingly candid admission – that he and his coaching staff could have done a better job putting wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson's skills to use when he was with Minnesota.
"Quite honestly," Zimmer told reporters during a conference call, "[the Patriots] are using him way better than we did. Cordarrelle's a great athlete, a very, very strong runner. I think they use him in a number of different ways. I mean, it's good to see for him. I wish we would have used him a little bit better."
"I really don't know what to say about that," Patterson responded Friday when Zimmer's remarks were brought to his attention. "It's good to hear a coach say that, but at the end of the day, I'm happy where I'm at right now."
Zimmer was hired as Vikings boss a year after Minnesota selected Patterson with the 29th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Patterson played three seasons for the Vikings before signing as a free agent with Oakland last year. New England then traded for Patterson this past March.
Since then, the Patriots have used Patterson as a receiver, running back, and kick returner, and he's rewarded them by scoring at least one touchdown this season in all three of those roles.
"'The Experiment,' that's what I call him," quarterback Tom Brady said about Patterson Friday, "just because he can do it all. We're all just trying new things with him. I just love what he does."
"Oh, man, I like any nickname Tom gives me," Patterson smiled. Continuing to joke with reporters, he added, "I wouldn't say they did it all [with me] because I can throw the ball and they haven't put me at quarterback yet. I can play safety, corner, linebacker, d-end… wherever they need me to play. I'm just happy to be here. Every chance I get to make a play, I'm going to give it my all and try to make a play for this team."
Patterson spent the first four years of his NFL career with Minnesota, the team New England will host this Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Naturally, he still has relationships with Vikings players and staff and admitted that he's hoping to catch up with some of them when they arrive in the area this weekend before the game.
"The [Vikings] organization, everything's good over there. I enjoyed my time, the four years I was there. Still got a lot of friends there. I keep in touch with those guys. They're like brothers to me.
"I enjoy my time here [in New England]," Patterson was quick to emphasize. "I'm having fun. I'm just ready for Sunday."