Patterson said his decision to join the Raiders was partially motivated by a belief that the team can help him improve as a receiver, ESPN.com reports. The 2013 first-round selection also expects to have a big role in the return game, which is where he really shined during his four-year tenure with the Vikings. Patterson did regain some offensive relevance last season after catching only two passes in 2015, but he's yet to reach 500 receiving yards in a campaign. He may have to settle for another limited offensive role in Oakland, where Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Seth Roberts formed a highly effective wideout trio the past two seasons. Patterson might get a shot to push Roberts for the No. 3 role, but the incumbent would probably have the edge in such a competition. While Patterson's two-year contract does include $5 million guaranteed, it can be voided after the first season, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
Patterson signed a contract with the Raiders on Monday, Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Patterson spent the first four years of his career in Minnesota, although high expectations for the athletic receiver were never met after a rookie season where he compiled a career-best 469 receiving yards and nine total touchdowns. At 25 years old, Patterson initially slots into the No. 4 spot on the depth chart behind Seth Roberts, but it's not a foregone conclusion that Roberts will remain ahead of Patterson when the 2017 campaign ultimately kicks off. Additionally, Patterson will likely serve as the team's top kick returner moving forward.
Patterson has already visited the Bears and Redskins, but he said Saturday he hopes to stay with the Vikings, the St. Paul Pioneer Prees reports. Patterson is flying around the country to evaluate the market for his services, with the next stop believed to be Oakland. While players typically opt for the best deal available on their second contracts, Patterson might consider giving the Vikings a slight discount. He re-emerged as a factor in the Minnesota offense last season, catching 52 passes for 453 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 70 targets, in addition to his typically excellent work as a kickoff returner. Patterson will likely have to compete for a No. 3 or No. 4 receiver role wherever he ends up signing.
Patterson said he would like to play running back next season. "I just want to touch the football," Patterson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I would love it." Patterson is an unrestricted free agent, so the versatility to play running back similar to how Ty Montgomery was used in Green Bay would only add to his value. It's not clear if the Vikings intend to re-sign him or use him more at running back. Patterson entered the 2016 season relegated to special teams, but revived his career with 52 receptions for 453 yards and two touchdowns. He's had 31 carries for 333 yards and four touchdowns, mostly on reverses or sweeps, but has lined up a few times in the backfield.
Patterson had one reception for 39 yards on two targets in Sunday's win over Chicago. Patterson started at wide receiver with Stefon Diggs hurt, but wide receivers had just 11 targets as Sam Bradford threw mostly to his tight ends and running backs. Patterson entered the 2016 season relegated to special teams, but revived his career when given a chance at wide receiver. He finished the season with 52 receptions for 453 yards and two touchdowns. He should find a robust market for his services as a free agent, especially since he may be the best kickoff returner in the NFL (five career touchdowns).
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