Mike Zimmer to Patterson: Get open if you want the ball

It’s official: Cordarrelle Patterson has entered Slumpville.

The Vikings’ young (but wildly talented) receiver, continuing to trend downward, had just two catches for 15 yards in Sunday’s 17-3 loss to the Lions.

Sadly, those numbers marked an improvement for Patterson, who, in the week prior, registered a total of eight (8) yards.

When pressed by reporters, he basically exonerated himself.

“It’s not them shutting me down,” Patterson said, per ESPN.com. “Some DB’s are smarter than the other ones. Some of them run the routes with you, some do more studying than others. It’s just our receivers and whole offense, we’ve just got to do better as a team.”

Meanwhile, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, who ripped into his team after the loss, was in no mood for it.

“He’s got to do a better job of getting open,” Zimmer said of Patterson, via Yahoo Sports. “I’m tired of hearing about all of this stuff. He’s the second-most targeted guy on the team, so if he wants the ball, tell him to get open.”

Talk about blunt honesty. Zimmer has a point, though. Patterson is the second read in the offense, targeted at least four times in each game this season. On Sunday, he saw eight targets come his way.

That his productivity is lacking can be attributed, Patterson says, to a hip injury he suffered during the team’s blowout loss to the Packers in Week 5 — the game in which he notched those eight whole yards.

“I don’t feel like I’m 100 percent. I should be next week,” Patterson said, per ESPN.com. “Just keep getting treatment, just keep grinding in treatment and do what it takes.”

To his credit, Patterson is only capable of so much in the Vikings’ current offense, a unit that desperately misses the presence of Adrian Peterson. Not to mention a steady hand at quarterback.

Still, the message from his coach is clear: Shoulder the load or shut up.

Zack Kelberman
An award-winning sportswriter, reporter and blogger, Zack currently serves as the Miami Dolphins live correspondent and Team Stream curator for Bleacher Report. He's also a freelance NFL writer and the founder/editor-in-chief of Helmet2Helmet. His work has appeared on media outlets such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, MSN.com, FanSided.com, and About.com. Zack can be reached on Twitter (@ZackKelberman) or via email (zpkelb@gmail.com).