The Class of 2011 could be looking for makeup money in a couple years as the first class to suffer…
Vikings double down on WR interview
That isn't unusual. The Vikings interviewed every prospect at the Senior Bowl. However, despite that January interview and being limited to 60 formal interviews at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Patton was back for another session with team executives.
The 6-foot, 202-pound receiver from Louisiana Tech met with six teams at the combine through Saturday afternoon, including the Vikings, Eagles, Seahawks, 49ers, Jets and Bills. He was also scheduled to meet with the Patriots.
Patton didn't face the top talent in college football week in and week out, but when he did, he shined on at least one occasion.
He had a whopping 21 catches, 233 yards and four touchdowns against Texas A&M.
"I can play with the best of them," he said.
"Everybody says I got the exposure off the Texas A&M game, but last year I played against of the best (defensive backs) that's in this combine right here and in the draft, Jonathan Banks (of Mississippi State). I really don't care what people say. I'm just a ballplayer."
While some may be slower on the uptake of intrigue surrounding Patton, he has no shortage of quiet confidence.
"I'm a confident person, confident in my abilities that God has given me. My confidence level is always high," he said.
That shouldn't be a big surprise, knowing that he models his game after Chad Johnson, but his opinion of Johnson declined after the self-promoting receiver changed his last name to Ochocinco and the former Bengals receiver's production dropped. Patton said he doesn't know what happened to Johnson after the name change, but now it is Patton's time to try to make his own name known in the NFL.
He called himself the best receiver in the draft (giving props to Cordarrelle Patterson as the second-best). The Senior Bowl and combine are opportunities to make his talents further established among NFL scouts and his name recognition greater.
"I love the whole process right here," he said as he answered questions from a handful of reporters at the combine. "I feel like I've been missing something. I love doing this right here.
"Long days, early mornings. But it's all right."
He isn't the strongest, fastest, tallest or most gifted among a deep pool of receiving talent in this year's draft. Most analysts in the media have him valued as a second-round pick and somewhere around the fifth-best receiver available, but that hardly matters to him.
What matters is that people are starting to take a closer look after his productive week of practice at the Senior Bowl, even if that didn't translate to his quarterbacks throwing his way in that college all-star game. That didn't seem to bother him because his team won the game and he felt he contributed in other ways.
"I think I proved a little bit more. But at the same time I love to compete. I love to compete with the best at anytime, anyplace, anywhere," he said.
Patton had a scholarship offer to Texas Tech, but he said that Tech pulled his scholarship after another receiver committed. He also had an offer to the University of Minnesota, but at the time Jerry Kill was just hired as the new coach and he didn't want to deal with the turnover that comes with a coaching change.
So, Louisiana Tech it was, where he caught 79 passes for 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns in his junior season after transferring from Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. As a senior, he improved those numbers to 104 catches for 1,392 yards and 13 touchdowns.
"(I) came a little bit under the radar, but that's what I like – turning people's heads," he said.
"I just make plays. That's it. It don't matter if I'm blocking 60 yards downfield for a running back, going in and digging out a linebacker or safety. I have no fear on the field. Just get it done. Hard-nosed player."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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