10 Vikings plays that shaped season: No. 10

January, 17, 2014
1/17/14
8:00
AM ET
Welcome back to our chronological look at the 10 plays that most shaped the Minnesota Vikings' 2013 season. Today: Play No. 10.

WHEN: Dec. 8, 2013

WHERE: A 29-26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

THE PLAY: Cordarrelle Patterson's 79-yard touchdown off a screen pass from Matt Cassel.

WHAT THEY SAID: Patterson: "The way my offensive line blocked and (fullback) Jerome (Felton) kicked his man out ... it was perfect. There was no way that I should have scored. I made a cut and (Matt) Elam slipped and it was a touchdown."

IMPACT OF THE PLAY: The play gave the Vikings a 26-22 lead with just under a minute to play, which they wound up blowing on Joe Flacco's touchdown pass in the closing seconds. But this play, and the handoffs Patterson would turn into big gains, underscored two points: Just how dynamic a talent the Vikings had on their hands, and what a disservice they had done themselves by not finding simple ways to get the ball into Patterson's hands sooner. Say what you want about Patterson's learning curve, about the speed with which he grasps the complexities of a NFL offense, but what he did on this play was pure instinct; he motioned into the right slot on third-and-10, faked a downfield route before stepping back for a screen from Matt Cassel, stepped through a lane created by running back Matt Asiata (not Felton) and Joe Berger, followed a block from John Sullivan, corkscrewed safety Matt Elam into the ground and raced the remaining 25 yards for a touchdown. The play wasn't unlike what Patterson does on kickoffs, showcasing his exemplary vision and top-end speed. It was a brilliantly simple design from offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, and it's a shame the Vikings didn't find occasions to employ Patterson in similar ways earlier in the year.

Ben Goessling

ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter

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