Photo - Aj Mansour (KFAN)
By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Eden Prairie, MN - Wins and losses are apparently not the only thing that the Vikings and Packers jockey for on a yearly basis. It's beginning to become a bit of a trend but each year at this time we find the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers jostling for the services of free agent players who are looking for a new home. This year, that player actually opted to turn in his green and yellow jersey to join the Vikings and dawn the purple and gold.
Greg Jennings who had been in the Twins Cities since Thursday met with the Minnesota media Friday night and confirmed that his "short-list" was indeed down to the Vikings and the Packers. But at the end of the day, it was Minnesota who "stepped up to the plate."
In fact, the Vikings "stepped up to the plate" to the tune of 5-years $47.5M with $18M guaranteed! And hearing from head coach Leslie Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman Friday night, the Vikings see that as money well spent.
"He’s a man that we have tried to corral for a number of years," Frazier said of facing Jennings as an opponent in the past. "We’ve tried to defend him and now to have him on our football team is something that we’re all excited about."
Jennings heads to Minnesota after spending the first seven years of his career as a member of the Green Bay Packers. Having been drafted in the 2nd round of the 2006 NFL Draft, Jennings burst onto the scene with the Packers and accounted for 425 receptions, 6537 yards and 53 touchdowns during his time in Green Bay.
Ready for a change, Jennings said that he just felt right latching on with Minnesota. Felt like it "fit like a glove."
"Minnesota stepped up to the plate," Jennings said during his introductory press conference. "They showed me and my family that they wanted the Jennings family to be a part of what they were doing as an organization and that’s why I’m standing here."
Jennings also admitted that he had spent a fair amount of time assessing the situation here in Minnesota. Having Adrian Peterson in the backfield was a plus, but he noted that he had watched film of the Vikings offense and paid particularly close attention to third-year quarterback Christian Ponder.
"I had to watch Christian [Ponder]," Jennings said. "I had to see what I was getting myself into…I saw a young guy that was maturing. [But] he didn’t have a lot of options to go to. No disrespect to the guys that he was throwing the ball to but you can just get a sense that he needed a little bit more around him to get him some help and hopefully I can help him out a little bit."
While Minnesota fans will likely welcome the addition of Jennings to a severely depleted group of wide receivers, they may also be scratching their heads as they remember the theme that general manager Rick Spielman has been preaching fairly publicly as of late.
Spielman said it multiple times on KFAN airwaves, multiple times at the NFL Scouting Combine and again as recently as the days leading up to free agency opening, but the Vikings were focused on building this team through the draft. It may be as simple as pointing to the Percy Harvin trade, but at some point something changed and Spielman felt it was valuable enough to chase after Jennings.
"To me, he was a unique situation," Spielman said Friday night. "I’m a very strong believer of building through the draft but every once in a while, something unique will come about that you just want to make sure you can get accomplished."
"We knew we were going to have probably a young receiving corps, but wanted to get a solid veteran. Not only, that can play and be productive but also be that leader in that room. As much as Greg is great as a player, we think of him better as a person and better as a leader."
Greg Jennings immediately becomes Christian Ponder's number one target and will help open up the field for Adrian Peterson and will strengthen the offensive unit for the Vikings.
Jennings will change it up a bit and will wear #15 for the Vikings leaving his familiar #85 jersey to rookie wide receiver Greg Childs.