By: Barry Barnes, Founder/Senior Writer
It was the rookie show in Minneapolis Friday evening when rookie receivers in Minnesota Vikings’ Cordarrelle Patterson and Houston Texans’ DeAndre Hopkins displayed their playmaking abilities. However, Hopkins put points on the board to help the Texans defeat the Vikings, 27-13.
“I knew it was man-to-man coverage so I kind of felt like I was going to get he ball and T.J. put the ball in the right place and I came down with it,” said Hopkins. “T.J. (Yates) put the ball where it needed to be. I have to give all of the thanks to my quarterback, he put it where it need to be and I came down with the play.”
Hopkins finished with four receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown, which spanned 34-yards.
“It felt great having my first preseason touchdown,” said Hopkins.
Patterson was just as an explosive, especially in the return game. On the opening kickoff, Patterson fielded the ball five yards deep in the endzone and turned the play into a 50-yard gain. Along with the long return, the former Tennessee Volunteer had four catches for 54 yards, gaining most of the yardage after the catch.
“I really thought he (Patterson) was going to go all the way,” said Vikings’ head coach Leslie Frazier. “I looked back and he was trying to make a cut and lost his footing a little bit. That was a good way to start the game and we were close to breaking that. It was good to see.”
Patterson credits the OTAs for his performance.
“I have come a long ways. I feel it,” said Patterson. “I had receivers telling me here that you have come a long ways since OTA’s with your route running but you know me, personally, I feel like there is a lot more that I can do to get better. I can sink my hips down, and get out of my breaks quicker.”
Texans; head coach Gary Kubiak was pleased with his quarterback play from his backups (who combined for 276 passing yards and two touchdowns), and Hopkins’ debut, which is why Houston drafted him.
“I thought TJ (Yates) did some really good things, Case (Keenum) did really great moving the football team the second half and putting the game away,” said Kubiak. “You take away the competition and it makes them much better pros when it’s all said and done.
“He’s (Hopkins) been doing that all camp, and if you give him a chance, he’ll develop,” he added. “He might have had a couple more if we gave him the ball. He might have made better plays, but that’s why he’s here. And it’s just fun to watch all these young players do great things.”
In defeat, Frazier like the energy the team had. Still, the turnovers and other issues stood out, but he understands that development is a process and it’s a part of evaluation.
“The positive was that we were able to start off the 2013 pre-season with our guys coming out early on with some energy,” said Frazier. “The turnovers were definitely not part of the plan and something we’ll have to take a look at and try to improve on. I thought the energy was there and thought the guys really came out ready to compete. There are things we have on tape now that we will be able to go back and evaluate our players and try to do the things that are necessary to try to improve.
“The goal is to improve every week that we work toward the regular season,” he continued. “But there is enough on tape now that we think we have a chance to evaluate the guys and have a better understanding of where they are.”
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