Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
MANKATO, Minn. - Cordarrelle Patterson doesn't want to get into why exactly it happened, but he starts smiling the moment the topic is raised.
Yes, the Minnesota Vikings' explosive rookie receiver had a unique living situation during his lone season at the University of Tennessee: when his first place in Knoxville didn't work out, three women took him in.
"Man, I'm not a bad guy, but some things happened at Tennessee where I had to move out," Patterson told USA TODAY Sports at the Vikings' training camp on Tuesday. "I had to find somewhere to stay. I had them girls that was there for me."
His new roommates were the first women he met in class, according to Patterson, who is quick to add he "didn't know 'em like that." And when he was forced to pack up his old apartment - well, why wouldn't he call his oldest friends on an unfamiliar campus, gender notwithstanding?
"It was a great experience living with girls," Patterson said. "They was kind of dirty, though. But I was the man of the house so I made sure everything was good and clean around there."
Plus, it was football season, meaning Patterson was up at 6 every morning and had the bathroom to himself anytime he slept in his own ... wait, was it even a bed? A couch? A futon?
"I was everywhere, man," Patterson said. "I was that guy. I was a rolling stone. Wherever I lay my hat was my home. I'd sleep there. I'd find somewhere to sleep. Sometimes, you get tired of your roommates. You need to get away so I had to find me somewhere else to sleep."
Patterson knows this all sounds unusual. But he's an unusual person, to say nothing of the skills that made him a first-round draft pick after only one year of major college football and could land him in NFL rookie of the year conversation if he comes along as the Vikings hope.
Take his answer when asked if there is another layer to Cordarrelle Patterson - a hobby, maybe, or something people don't know about him.
"I tell people I got the greatest smile in the world," Patterson said. "I love to smile, I love to shop, I love fashion and I just like to have fun."
That was apparent to NFL teams that spoke with Patterson in February at the scouting combine, where he grinned and joked his way through what amounted to his most important job interview.
His casual attitude, unique background and relative inexperience - he didn't play football in 2009 at a North Carolina prep school, then spent two seasons at Hutchinson Community College before his five-month stay in that apartment at Tennessee - scared off some teams in April's draft.
But the Vikings were enamored with the elusive, relentless player they saw rack up more than 1,000 rushing and receiving yards and score 10 touchdowns for the Volunteers. They interviewed him at least three times, including on a visit to the team's facility.
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