Posted March 15, 2013

Greg Jennings signs with Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings, NFL Free Agency
Greg Jennings had spent his entire five-year career with Green Bay before signing with Minnesota. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Greg Jennings had spent his entire five-year career with Green Bay before signing with Minnesota. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

After trading away Percy Harvin, the Minnesota Vikings had no choice but to find another receiver or two. Fortunately for them, an outstanding option just happened to be on the free-agent market.

That player: Greg Jennings, who agreed to a five-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings late Friday night.

Jennings played just eight games last season as he struggled with injuries; his 36 catches and 366 yards both were career lows. In the four seasons prior to that, though, the former Packer averaged nearly 73 receptions and more than 1,150 yards per year as one of Aaron Rodgers’ most reliable targets.

He’s exactly the type of player Minnesota needed, too, to complement sensational running back Adrian Peterson. The Vikings’ receiving corps prior to Jennings’ signing consisted of Jerome Simpson, Jarius Wright, Greg Childs, Stephen Burton and Chris Summers — that quintet combined for all of 53 catches last season, 48 of those belonging to the Simpson-Wright duo.

Jennings is versatile enough to play any receiver spot, though he’s clearly the No. 1 option in Minnesota for the time being. The Vikings do have two first-round picks (the second coming courtesy of that Harvin trade with Seattle), which could put them in line to pick up another pass-catcher.

That the Vikings grabbed Jennings from the Packers will add a little extra satisfaction for Minnesota. The Packers did not seem willing to pay Jennings what he reportedly started out free agency asking for (around $10 million per year), but they had expressed interest in bringing him back at a reduced price.

Which quarterback will be throwing Jennings passes is a bit up in the air, following Minnesota’s signing of Matt Cassel. The ex-Chief figures to challenge Christian Ponder for the starting job.

No matter who wins that competition, his job will be much easier with Jennings running routes.

Grade: A-minus. The Vikings had a lot of money to burn this offseason and, even before the trade of Harvin, a clear need at wide receiver. Jennings puts them in a much better position heading into the draft. And if they land one or two more options there, a potential positional weakness could become a strength.

35 comments
CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

I love how when Jennings was with Green Bay all the Vikings fans thought he was overhyped and overpaid and not a very good WR.  Now that he's with the Vikings, all of you Vikings fans think he's the second coming of Jerry Rice.  Funny, methinks.

 

Now, about Minnesota signing all of those former Packer players:  You can have them.  It's a business, and while I'm sad to have seen them leave, I get it.  But how many Super Bowls did your team win with the guys Green Bay no longer needed?  Zero.  Favre won with GB, but never got there with MN.  Longwell and Sharper were both in the Super Bowl with GB (SB 32), but neither got there again with MN.  In fact, Sharper won with New Orleans, the same year that they knocked MN out of the playoffs.

 

As far as Jennings goes, he won one with GB.  If he wins one with MN....wait....I'm sorry....I can't stop laughing here.  MN is 0-4 in the big game, and hasn't gotten there with the help of any of GB's former players.  The signing of Jennings is no different.  He won't help your team get to the Super Bowl.  He's the only real receiver you have, and with nobody else to roll coverage to he's just gonna get double-teamed all day long and not do much.  And you'll find out that it had more to do with Rodgers throwing him the ball - as well as having Jones, Nelson, Finley, and Cobb on the field with him - than it is his talent.  It's not one guy, it's all the guys.  Guys you still don't have.

wytefang
wytefang

It's so enjoyable to listen to Packer fans (classless as always, despite being painted otherwise by the sports media machine) whine about players leaving their crappy organization.  Must be something about the Packers as a team that has these high-level players defecting.  Hmmm....lol.  SKOL VIKINGS!!

MarkVanderWegen
MarkVanderWegen

I'm tried of everyone saying players aren't loyal. It is a load of crap. How can a player be loyal when a team, this time the Packers, let the player go without offering a contract. I appreciate everything Greg Jennings did for GB, both on and off the field. Let him go, wish him luck, except for when the ViQueens play the Packers.

Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin Death Trip

....and they (Vikings) signed his growing list of injuries to a 5 year deal too. Meanwhile, the Packers saved themselves a little chunk of money to spend elsewhere where it's needed most. Like defense!

TS
TS

It's not a matter of Vikings stealing packer players, more so it's the packer players admiration of being part of Vikings organization! Rodgers will soon drink the koolaid! All are welcome

JackWilliams
JackWilliams

Privately, the Packers front office is pretty arrogant. They show a cold shoulder to some of their most producung players once FA comes around. Their players ( and their agents) are aware of this trend, and have to prepare accordingly. Though the players want to be loyal to the Packers community and tradition, their agents are aware of the precedents.  To decide to leave the Packers, Jennings obviously created a high bar for the Vikings to meet. They stepped up, and Jennings was enamoured with the team who wanted him more. It's not just the money: veterans' pride is influenced by a team that shows how much they want him. The Packers  did not consider Jennings a priority.   

KarenSilas
KarenSilas

The Packers may have loyal fans but their players aren't loyal at all. But as usual, the vikings come around to pick up used players who need a place to retire at.

 

Matt32
Matt32

Why does everyone think Cassell is going to challenge for the job?

 

Ponder hasn't been impressive, sure, but the coaching staff has staunchly supported him the whole time.  I really don't see much of a chance of Matt "Whoops, I fumbled again" Cassell taking the starting job. 

 

On the Jennings signing, I like it.  They needed a veteran reciever and they got a good one.  I'm guessing they'll grab a WR, maybe two, in the draft to round out the reciever corps.

 

So far I'm happy with the offseason.  They got rid of a malcontent, kept their own free agents, and picked up a desperately needed WR.  The only thing I didn't like was bringing back Jerome Simpson, and even that wasn't a terrible signing considering we had Jarius Wright, Greg Childs, and Stephen Burton as their only recievers at the time.

 

And besides, it's always nice to take a player away from the Packers.

cwk
cwk

 @CoreyLivermore

 Do you also love how when Jennings was with Green Bay all the Packer fans thought he was the second coming of Jerry Rice, and now that he's with the Vikings all of the Packer fans think he's overhyped and overpaid and not a very good WR? If not, why not?

 

Joe73
Joe73

 @wytefang  The Packers, a crappy organization?  That's priceless coming from a Vikings fan.

StevenKeys
StevenKeys

 @MarkVanderWegen "ViQueens" from a Vi(King): A lot of gender-bending comments emanating from Packers' fans these days.  To each his (or her or transgender) own.

Joe73
Joe73

 @TS Yes, players all over the league can't wait to become a part of the legendary Vikings organization.  Such as Percy Harvin.

StevenKeys
StevenKeys

 @KarenSilas Being "loyal" is a two-way street, Karen.  Offering Jennings a "reduced" rate contract, given his contributions on / off the field, smacks of business as usual with tight-fisted Lambeau Central (See; Steven Jackson).  If your standard for loyalty requires under-valuation of services, I wouldn't want to be in your employ.

 

Had GB at least offered status quo with an extension in order to vet Jennings physical status after his long rehab I'd be more inclined to favor Thompson & friends approach.  They didn't, so I don't.

 

And if Greg Jennings can "retire" in Minnesota with a season or two like Brett Favre had in '09-10, thumping GB twice and playing the best football of his storied career, the Vikings will have done good. 

nfinitwordsfoto
nfinitwordsfoto

 @KarenSilas This is something that's bugged me a little bit too but at the same time, I get it.  There's no real reason for a player to be loyal to a team when you consider that they most likely aren't even from the city that they now play for and growing up it wasn't a team that they felt an emotional bond to.  Then you have to factor in that they know that the business of football is a harsh one and that teams are very cold when it comes to reciprocal loyalty toward the players.  By the time a player's been with one team for 4 years, he's probably seen 75-80 percent roster turnover with a huge percentage of those players being either released or traded.  

packers85
packers85

i am greg jennings biggest fan! Now how do i cheer for him if hes on the vikings?

SephirothDZX
SephirothDZX

 @cwk  @CoreyLivermore In what universe did you live in where Greg Jennings was considered the second coming of Jerry Rice in Green Bay? Packer fans always respected his talent, but we were also pretty aware that his numbers were always bumped up a bit because he was playing with Favre and Rodgers in a pass happy offense.

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

 @cwk I don't think he's overhyped.  And I think all football players are overpaid.

 

Was he good while he was here?  Yes.  But it was more due to Rodgers throwing him the ball and the Packers having 5 legitimate receivers on the field at one time than it was due to his natural talent.  He's got skills, but he won't do jack when opposing defenses can key on him all day long.

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

 @ScottYoung Yeah, I'm sour that the Vikings signed an injury prone receiver who had some pretty good years thanks to the other guys around him.

 

That's what you don't understand.  It's not one guy.  It's the entire team.  Jennings is good, but without the rest of the team he won't be as good.

 

You guys can have him.  We'll miss him here, but we won't let it ruin our season before it even starts.  You can continue to look up at the Packers from the bottom of the division no matter who you sign.

Matt32
Matt32

 @Joe73  ...so you take offense to the Packers being labeled, incorrectly I must admit, a crappy organization, but don't take offense to the fact that you're classless and whiny?

 

Come on, man!

 

wytefang
wytefang

 @Joe73 LOL..and here they come.  The bars must have let out early in Wisconsin I guess. 

Matt32
Matt32

 @Joe73  Read into Percy's history a little bit.  He's had this sense of entitlement about him since high school.  Is he a dynamic playmaker?  Absolutely.  But the bottom line is no team can do well if they have players who don't want to be there.

 

Do we need to rehash T.O.'s trips to Philly and Dallas?

 

Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin Death Trip

 @StevenKeys  @KarenSilas Getting only 1 or 2 good years out of a 5 year contract isn't a good deal at all. Say SK, haven't seen ya around the "The Family Tree" group page. Drop by and leave one of your stories for the group to read, HA! lol

Soul
Soul

@packers85 draft him in your fantasy leagues

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

 @SephirothDZX  Learn how to read.  I never said he was the second coming of Jerry Rice in Green Bay.  If you'd actually read a post before responding, you'll see I said exactly what you did - he has talent but benefited from having a bunch of other talented guys around him.

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

 @ScottYoung  @CoreyLivermore Yeah, I mean the Vikings who were under the Packers, thereby looking UP at them.  The same Vikings who did not win the Division, nor did they win in the playoffs.

 

Spin it however you want.  Make excuses about injuries.  Packers had 16 guys on IR the year they won the Super Bowl, so excuses about injuries don't fly in Packer country.  Keep telling yourself whatever you need to so you can live with the fact the Vikings lost to the Packers in the playoffs and feel they can't win unless they sign former Packer players.

ScottYoung
ScottYoung

 @CoreyLivermore  You mean the Vikings who WEREN'T the bottom of the division, so it was impossible to "continue" to look up from there, and only lost the play-ff game because our starting quarterback was out injured? Them?  Oh, SNAP.

 

If you're going to try insulting the Vikings. at least make sure your facts are right.

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

 @ScottYoung You mean the same Packers who got closer than the Vikings did by beating them in the playoffs?  Them?  Oh, snap.

 

If you're going to try insulting the Packers, at least make sure your crappy Vikings didn't lose to them in the playoffs.

seelbinder99
seelbinder99

 @CoreyLivermore  he will have peterson, who demanded 8 in the box all year last year, including when harvin was healthy. with 2 first rounders and 2 4th's, we have a good shot at getting another solid receiver. just remember, you only finished 1 game better last year, with our horrible QB and lack of WR. this year might be different. 

ScottYoung
ScottYoung

 @CoreyLivermore  Would this be the Packers with the paper curtain defence that choked against the Vikings on the final game of the season, blowing a first-round play-off bye, and getting nowhere near the SB?  Them?  Oh, snap.

StevenKeys
StevenKeys

 @Wisconsin Death Trip  @KarenSilas "1 or 2 good years" from GJ in Minnesota?  Not my words, WDT.

 

Norseman Favre had maybe his best year, an MVP-caliber season in '09-10, making himself favored-target for bounty hunters in New Orleans in NFC title.  Calling it merely "good" is, in Ted Thompson tradition, a devaluation of service.

 

Two great years like Brett had in '09 and a couple "good" ones from Jennings will suffice for Zygi Wilf.

 

As for your odd invite: keeping it football, I'll pass.  Some fine "stories" on SI's fan-blogger page for perusing, when streaming videos aren't infecting the site.  Check it out, after you check your bitterness at the door.