Cordarrelle Patterson insists he still has some tricks up his sleeve after a big rookie season with the Minnesota Vikings.

The outspoken receiver isn't sure how he will follow-up on a first NFL season in which he became the league's most dangerous kickoff returner with a Pro Bowl appearance and progressed as a receiver and returner. But Patterson, never shy, knows he'll have a surprise or two in store.

"This year I'm going to try and pull something different out," Patterson said at the team's mandatory minicamp last month. "I don't know what it is, but I feel like I can get better and improve on my game. When this year comes, I hope I can show the fans and everybody something a little different."

Even a slight improvement, given all Patterson's natural athleticism, might be enough to take the league by storm. While Patterson is waiting to see what his next trick will be, his teammates are seeing the differences and the way he might catch opposing defensive backs off-guard.

"I just think his route-running and his ability to recognize defense," quarterback Matt Cassel said of where Patterson has shown the most progress. "I think that's huge for him, and any receiver, as you move forward. The key component, I think, is understanding defenses and how they're trying to attack you and how you work your different releases."

When Minnesota gave up four draft picks to trade back into the first round last year to draft Patterson, his physical traits made teams excited about the potential. But Patterson, after only one year of major college football, was more projection than production.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Patterson was versatile, making an impact as a returner, runner and receiver at Tennessee. The athleticism and versatility didn't come without its faults. Patterson was considered raw. He was not a precise route runner. He succeeded on natural ability.