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Mike Zimmer: Cordarrelle Patterson must 'get open'

Cordarrelle Patterson entered the 2014 season posited as a superstar in waiting.

Our group fed into this hysteria, but we certainly weren't alone. Coming off an electric close to his rookie season, Patterson appeared to be Minnesota's logical successor to Percy Harvin. All the Vikings had to do, it seemed, was give him the damn ball.

That hasn't happened ... at least, not nearly enough for Patterson to impact a AP-free world in Minnesota. Through six games, Patterson has just 17 catches for 204 yards and zero touchdowns. He had three rushes for 102 yards and a touchdown in the season opener, but has carried the ball just two times -- total -- in the five games that followed.

On the surface, Patterson's disappearing act seems like a deep and unforgivable failure by offensive coordinator Norv Turner. But Vikings coach Mike Zimmer offered another explanation when asked Monday why his team has had such a difficult time getting Patterson involved.

"He needs to get open," Zimmer told The SiriusXM Blitz with Bruce Murray and Rich Gannon. "Pretty simple."

As a follow, Zimmer was asked if Patterson's inability to get open can be attributed to coverage, route running or other challenges understanding the game. Patterson also is battling a hip injury, though Zimmer wasn't asked about that.

"It's all of those. It's all of those," Zimmer said. "Sometimes it's coverage based. Sometimes it's his acceleration after the top of the route. Sometimes it's the beginning of the route. It's just a combination of all of them."

We don't doubt Zimmer's assessment that Patterson must improve as a route-runner -- that part of his game was a question mark before the season started. But the Vikings have also fallen short in finding creative ways to get Patterson the ball while he learns the nuances of being a wide receiver at this level.

Patterson, and how the Vikings employ him, remains a work in progress.

We recap all the Week 6 action on a jaunty edition of the "Around The NFL Podcast." Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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