Vikings first-round pick Cordarrelle Patterson was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month by the NFL on Thursday.
Patterson leads the NFL with a 33.8-yard average per kickoff return, including a 105-yard return for a touchdown.
Last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers' top-ranked kickoff coverage unit, Patterson returned five of Shaun Suisham's kickoffs for a 28.8-yard average, including a 42-yarder, and showed no fear bringing kickoffs deep out of the end zone. He brought out two kicks from 8 yards deep in the end zone, two from 6 yards deep and returned another from the 4-yard line.
"We do have a lot of trust in him for sure. We have some parameters on when he can bring it out and when he doesn't, but it's not by yards," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Tuesday. "We think he can return one 109 yards, 108 yards – he's done 105 yards. So we trust his judgment. We do have some things we talk about when the ball is kicked when he has to not return it. But he's made good decisions up to this point."
After facing Patterson, the Steelers dropped to the sixth-ranked kickoff coverage unit while Patterson moved past Chicago's Devin Hester for the NFL lead in average.
Patterson and Percy Harvin are the only Vikings kick returners to be named player of the month.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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