The Vikings brass, and Jared Allen, spent last night and today courting free agent wide out Greg Jennings by taking him out to the famous Manny’s Steakhouse and touring the Winter Park facilities.
Now, Jennings is a Minnesota Viking under a five year deal, which fills a huge need on the wide receiver depth chart.
Jennings played with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay for his whole career, but will now be playing with Christian Ponder who needs to continue to improve in order to maintain his status as the franchise’s quarterback of the present and the future.
Jennings, 29 years old, is coming off of an injury plagued season that turned out to be the worst of his career. He managed only 36 catches for 366 yards and four touchdowns. Still, the assumption is that he is fully healthy now and will strive to return to the 1,000 yard plus receiver that he was known as, which the Vikings need so desperately.
With Percy Harvin being traded to Seattle the Vikings have Jerome Simpson, Jarius Wright, and Stephen Burton on the Vikings depth chart that could still see some movement this offseason. The Vikings are still expected to use some combination of their 11 draft picks to add youth and talent at the position.
Jennings has played 96 games in his career and has caught 425 balls for 6,537 yards and 53 touchdowns.
His new deal is expected to be $47.5 million over the five years, with $18 million guaranteed, which is a $9.5 million per year average.
Rick Spielman had a lot of kind things to say about his staff at Thursday’s press conference prior to introducing Leslie Frazier who described Friday as a “great day for the Minnesota Vikings.” Frazier also placed an emphasis on Jennings having high character and leadership qualities, which are the types of statements that were all too predictable following the trade of Harvin.
“I’m excited, today is a great day, and I’m looking forward to what the future holds,” said Jennings right off the bat who went on to describe his first walk into free agency and give his respects to the Green Bay Packers organization.
“It was just a family feel. It felt comfortable,” Jennings said of his visit with the Vikings who said the team is a contender for whom the window is now opening, not closing. He also said the move was selfish in that he is looking forward to playing with Adrian Peterson who commands the attention of an entire defense.
Jennings also talked highly of Christian Ponder’s game tape and feels he has matured, and will continue to mature, as a passer in the NFL and is looking forward to helping him out with that.
“It’s a fresh new start. A Change,” he said. ”I’m looking forward to the change.”
Jennings said that his choices “pretty much” came down to Minnesota and Green Bay, and then cited his dinner with Jared Allen as a big reason why he made the decision he did.
Jennings ended his conference by saying, with a huge smile, that it is important to note he is currently 29 years old and will not be 30 until after the season starts.