Earlier this week, over 80% of you assigned either an “A” or a “B” grade to the Percy Harvin trade, but now we want to know what you think of the latest two signings:
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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.
Well, it took some time, but it appears that Rick Spielman got his man.
According to ESPN, the Vikings have reached an agreement with the former Packers receiver, who will provide the Vikings with a legitimate weapon for Christian Ponder’s second season as the full time starter.
Jennings will turn 30 in September and was reportedly looking for a deal north of $10 million. Jennings has been plagued by injuries, and saw an increase in competition for snaps in Green Bay, over the last two seasons but was one of the NFL’s premier receivers from 2008 to 2010.
The deal is reported to be over five years, which means Jennings will be 35 years old when it expires, and financial terms are currently unknown. A press conference is scheduled for 7:15 tonight.
We will have updates coming soon.
Yesterday, the Vikings signed former Chief Matt Cassel as their backup plan at quarterback.
Today, former Vikings offensive lineman signed a one year deal with Kansas City, according to The Kansas City Star.
Schwartz played well for the Vikings during his one season with the team, occasionally taking some snaps from right guard Brandon Fusco, and has the versatility to play both guard and tackle. He could end up having some opportunity to prove himself at right tackle or guard with the Chiefs, but all of that hinges on whether or now they use their first overall pick on offensive tackle Luke Joeckle or not.
Once again, for those keeping track at home for the purposes of trying to predict the 2014 compensatory draft pick distribution, the Vikings have seen two of their own free agents sign elsewhere, but have yet to sign one themselves.
Matt Cassel knows he is being brought in not to compete with starting quarterback Christian Ponder, but to be his backup.
“Backup plan” might be a more accurate description for the thinking behind signing the 30 year old quarterback, given Christian Ponder’s sure-to-be short leash as he enters his third season in the NFL.
“They conveyed exactly that,” Cassel said on Thursday, “That Christian obviously had a great year last year, they went 10-6 and that he’s their starting quarterback and that they’re looking to bring somebody in with experience and somebody that will come in and basically be somebody who can step in if need be.”
“The fact of the matter is, again, Christian’s the starting quarterback and I think that we’ll have a great room. I’m there to add value. I’m there to help him out in whatever capacity that is and go from there.”
Contrary to numerous reports that say Cassel signed a one year deal worth $4 million, we believe that Cassel’s deal is actually for two years with an option for him to void it after one. We also believe his 2013 cap hit will actually be less than $4 million.
I have to say, I am having a hard time thinking of a quarterback that has been (or is) on the open market this offseason that is a better and more accomplished quarterback than Cassel. An argument could be made that Ryan Fitzpatrick qualifies, but an argument equally as strong could be made that the Vikings went out and got the best available quarterback this year.
After watching our playoff game at Green Bay last season it is hard to criticize anything about this move, even if the money is a tad on the highside for a backup quarterback.
It has been pretty evident that the Vikings were more than willing to move on into the future without linebacker Jasper Brinkley on the roster. Now, Brinkley has made certain that’ll be the case by moving on himself.
Brinkley visited with the New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals as an unrestricted free agent, and on Thursday he chose the Cardinals.
According to PFT, Brinkley signed a two year deal with Arizona, and the Vikings are currently without a middle linebacker.
For those keeping track at home, the Vikings have lost one player (Brinkley) but have not signed any unrestricted free agents that would count against their 2014 compensatory draft pick formula. Matt Cassel won’t count against the formula because he wasn’t an unrestricted free agent, he was cut.
The Vikings somewhat shored up the safety position by retaining Jamarca Sanford this offseason, but a secondary depth chart that was already thin on talent before the Vikings released Antoine Winfield could use some new talent to try and keep up in a division with three very capable passing games.
Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports that the Vikings have contacted cornerback Antoine Cason and free safety Gerald Sensabaugh. Wolfson says the Vikings are simply doing their due diligence and are making lots of calls, so we probably shouldn’t read too much into this news.
Still, it is encouraging to see the Vikings trying to improve the depth chart in the defensive backfield, as it would be mistake to be content with Marcus Sherels and A.J. Jefferson as two of your top options.