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Cordarrelle Patterson brings versatility to New England

Cordarrelle Patterson, one of the great special teams weapons in the NFL, will fit right in with a Patriots team that thrives in versatility.

On Saturday, Patriots special-teams standout Matthew Slater visited the Steelers. On Sunday, the Patriots traded for receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

It feels, on the surface, like a farewell to Slater. And for as versatile as Slater has been on special teams, Patterson’s Swiss Army knife skills spill over to offense.

Patterson, who found a niche as a kick returner and, in his contract year with Minnesota, a gunner on the punt team, can contribute both in the passing game and in the running game, too.

While never the receiving threat he was expected to be when the Vikings made him a first-round pick in 2013, Patterson generated 430 yards from scrimmage last year, 121 of which came on the ground.

Ultimately, Patriots coach Bill Belichick is getting a fast player who can do a lot of things, and who can line up in a lot of places. There’s real value in that kind of versatility, especially when an offense periodically likes to put pedal to metal and create mismatches via creative alignments.