Richard Martin

Can Flash Win Rookie of the Year?

Created on Jul. 22, 2013 9:44 PM EST

Cordarrelle Patterson has potential written all over him.

The Minnesota Vikings are excited about Patterson (who wants to be known as "Flash") possibly having a great year, winning the Rookie of the Year award and helping the long-suffering franchise finally garner the Pete Rozelle trophy.

I don’t know about the Super Bowl. A lot of things would have to go right for the Vikings to win, or even get there. But Patterson looks like one of the four top rookies this year.

Part of that is due to the odd nature of the first couple of rounds. NFL execs got it into their heads, rightly or wrongly, that this was the year to select offensive linemen at the top of the draft. The rookie of the year must put up great numbers, and it would help if his team does well.

Quarterbacks often take home this award, but I’m less than overwhelmed by this year’s new crop of signal-callers. I’m not sure who will even get playing time this coming season. And some of the quarterback picks, like E.J. Manuel, are reaches. 

I would bet big money on a non-quarterback winning.

That brings me to Patterson. Like the other candidates, he has big pluses and big minuses. He’s a speedster, and might replicate the feats of Percy Harvin, who won the award in 2009 by going all the way on two or three kickoff returns. 

But his quarterback, Christian Ponder, has not shown he can throw the deep ball. As a rookie on a team that’s much deeper at receiver than it was in 2012, he might not get a lot of snaps. And the Vikes have this guy named Peterson.

My pick: Tavon Austin. I think Jeff Fisher is a fine coach, Sam Bradford will have a good year, and the Rams will be a surprise team that contends for a wild-card playoff berth. 

Patterson, I forecast, will start slowly but pick up steam and have a good but not overwhelming year. Rounding out my top three is Eifert, who’ll be part of a balanced attack in Cincinnati. 

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