Wednesday, September 2, 2015

percy harvin

It has been so long since the Vikings have had a top flight receiver on the roster, a traditional number one receiver anyways, that Vikings fans didn’t seem to mind in the slightest that Greg Jennings is a lifelong Packer.

Still, he is putting in some effort to make sure he is a popular guy.

Jennings appeared on KFAN Radio this morning with Paul Allen and really opened up about a number of topics with equal portions of honesty and tact that made for a really impressive interview.

He immediately scored some points by attaching himself to the last Packer that gave Minnesota a legitimate shot at a Super Bowl, Brett Favre.

“Literally, as I got off the plane and (offensive coordinator Bill) Musgrave walked up to me, I’m on the phone with Brett,” Jennings said as transcribed by Viking Update. “I spoke with Brett two or three times throughout this process. He shot me straight. I knew if there was one person that would shoot straight and tell me exactly what I wanted to hear and things I possibly didn’t want to hear, it would be Brett. He did that for me.”

The organization has undergone a face lift since Favre was last on the roster, but many key components still exist, and most of you know I don’t care for the guy but it is still encouraging to hear that a veteran NFL player was willing to give his endorsement of the organization to another player and friend.  Those types of things can prove useful during times like free agency.

Unlike Percy Harvin, who actively seemed to avoid the topic of quarterback Christian Ponder, Jennings went out of his way to paint a bright future for his new quarterback with a positiveness that is sure to have the Vikings P.R. Department sharing a bottle of champagne tonight.

Leading up to the visit, and eventual signing, of wide receiver Greg Jennings there were reports that the Packers were making an effort to keep him and there were varying reports regarding just where Jennings’ market measured up.

We already have discussed that Jennings signed a five year deal with the Vikings worth an average of about $9 million per year.

Now, Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel brings us details about just how things ended with the Packers, and also points out that the Vikings and Packers weren’t the only team interested in Jennings.

According to McGinn, Jennings turned down an extension offer from the Packers that averaged $11 million per year, because he was seeking something more in the neighborhood of $15 million.  A concussion during training camp was followed by an abdominal injury that required surgery, and his perceived value obviously took a hit after those injuries prevented him from having a normal Jennings-type season on the field.

After all, Jennings had flat out missed half of the last 22 Packers games, and questions about his long term viability were being raised for the first time in his career.

Despite the injuries and a stacked depth chart, however, the Packers showed significant interest in retaining the 29 year old wide out.  According to McGinn’s sources, Jennings had an offer from the Packers that averaged about $8 million per year.  This was significantly less than what they offered him last year, and way less than the $15 million average he was originally seeking, so Jennings sat tight during the opening days of free agency to see if anyone stepped up.

With the deep-pocketed Miami Dolphins shelling out a bunch of money to Mike Wallace, and Seattle trading for Percy Harvin, the possible landing destinations for Jennings started to narrow.  The New England Patriots did make an offer to Jennings, which averaged about $6 million per year, but those talks didn’t go very far, writes McGinn.

The Vikings, as Jennings puts it, “stepped up to the plate” with their contract offer following a wooing period in the Twin Cities.

It appears pretty obvious that the Vikings paid more than anyone else was willing to, but clearly less than the market thought Jennings was worth last year.  The hope is that Jennings is able to return to his 2010 form and avoid future injuries so that the contract looks less like a desperation move, and more like a bargain.

 

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.

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Percy Harvin seems very happy to be a millionaire in a new location that, incidentally enough, has no income tax and just legalized marijuana (yup, had to go there).

Despite all of the drama that led up to his eventual trade to Seattle, Harvin had nothing but nice things to say about the Minnesota Vikings and their fans.

“I have nothing but love for that whole Vikings organization,” Harvin told NFL Network. “And from the texts I’ve been getting today and yesterday, they have nothing but love for me.”

“It’s absolutely false. Me and Coach Frazier have a great relationship,” he said when asked about reports that he was, at least at times, at odds with coach Leslie Frazier. “He has the utmost respect for me, and I have the utmost respect for him.”

Then Harvin laid some of the blame for the drama at the feet of the media.

“We were talking almost every day (and) texting each other,: he said.  “We both understood what the situation was. I think this whole thing was blown up (by media). We did have our ups and downs.”

Harvin was briefly pressed about his opinion of quarterback Christian Ponder.  While he was plenty willing to rave about his new quarterback Russell Wilson, and plenty willing to say he had love for the Minnesota Vikings, he opted for a “no comment” on the Ponder question.

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I have refrained from doing any sort of comprehensive opinion piece about the Percy Harvin trade because I was missing one key bit of information.  I’ll be writing the opinion piece soon, because Harvin’s contract information is now public.

The Seahawks, according to PFT, traded for and then signed Harvin to a six year deal worth up to $67 million.  This means he will now earn an average of $12.845 million per each year of the contract.  He will get a $12 million dollar signing bonus, and as PFT points out he is now in a state with no income tax, and a total of $25.5 million guaranteed.

I am really disappointed that Percy Harvin is no longer a Vikings, but these numbers are pretty staggering, and the biggest risk of all for the Vikings might have been trying to sign him to a similar deal.

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