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Zimmer: Cordarrelle Patterson running better routes

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The Minnesota Vikings have given Around The NFL's Dan Hanzus a new storyline for his hyper-familiar tropes of minicamp season.

Now that enigmatic wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has a more firm grasp on the fundamentals of playing wide receiver in the NFL, he can allow his natural talent to shine through.

Not long after general manager Rick Spielman noted that Patterson has "really grown up a lot," coach Mike Zimmer praised the 2013 first-round pick's improved route running.

"He's really done well," Zimmer said last week, via FOX Sports North. "He's running routes good. He's working hard. So we just need him to continue to do those things and continue to keep getting consistent and keep improving. I've been impressed with the things that he's done."

That's no small point. Patterson's limited route tree and poor feel for the nuances of the position rendered him a non-factor down the stretch last year after he landed in the No. 1 spot in our offseason "Making the Leap" countdown.

Even with the trade for Mike Wallace and the emergence of Charles Johnson as a viable NFL starter, the Vikings aren't ready to give up on Patterson's substantial talent.

Unlike the two previous years, though, Patterson is going to have to compete for snaps as opposed to being given the benefit of the doubt due to his undeniable potential.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Geno Smith and the Jets' QB position and much, much more with special co-host Colleen Wolfe. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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