Greg Jennings Return Makes Little Sense

Greg Hardy isn’t the only NFL player that attempted to use the media to promote himself worthy of a roster spot this week. Former Vikings (and Packers and Dolphins) wide out Greg Jennings took to the airwaves yesterday to make it known that he would like to return to the team that released him a year ago to make room for Mike Wallace.

“I left Rick [Spielman] a voicemail,” Jennings said on KFAN. “I told [them], I’m waiting on you guys.”

“I miss being [in Minnesota],” he continued. “You appreciate something more when it’s taken away from you.”

The 32 year old receiver is coming off of two consecutive seasons that were progressively underwhelming. He only started five games with the Dolphins in 2015 where he caught 19 passes for 208 yards and a single touchdown.

With age and production working against him, Jennings may be waiting some time before Spielman returns his call, if it even ever happens.

The Vikings are widely regarded as a team that entered the offseason in need of help at the wide receiver position. They added Terrell Sinkfield and jettisoned Mike Wallace, which currently gives the impression of a net loss at the position so far this offseason.

Despite that, the receiver depth chart is already a tad on the crowded side, and it is hard to imagine the organization is done investing in receiver talent with the NFL Draft still on the horizon. Most 2016 mock drafts, including Austin Belisle’s and my own, have the Vikings targeting wide outs in the first round.

The Vikings could certainly do worse than adding the veteran presence Jennings brings to the table, as he’s a guy that does so many little things right on the field (and off it), but I just don’t see the Vikings front office being overly interested unless the injury bug strikes hard in August.

Stefon Diggs, Charles Johnson, Jarius Wright, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Adam Thielen are a group consisting of more potential than proven impact, but that potential is by far preferable to a declining veteran that is currently unemployed.

“I know what Teddy [Bridgewater] missed,” Jennings said on Wednesday. “Sometimes you take for granted the veteran guys in the locker room. . . . When I look at the Vikings I see a young team. A team of guys with great leadership on the defensive side of the ball specifically. In a wide receiver room, where’s the veteran? Where’s the leadership? Where’s the accountability?”

Jennings is certainly justified in using his veteran experience and ability to mentor to sell himself, but those efforts may be futile when it comes to getting his wish and returning to Minnesota.

“It was a humbling year,” Jennings said of his 2015 season in Miami. “This is what I desire. I desire to be home with my family. The only way I’m home with my family is if the Vikings pick up the phone and call me.”

Your move, Rick.

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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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  1. I mean… I wouldn’t be mad at Rick if he made the move. Like you said, the Vikings certainly could do worse. So there is that.

  2. If he can’t find a roster spot in the NFL, I would take him as an assistant WR coach for the Vikings, right now.

  3. Jennings made a mistake by not taking the contract restructure which was offered to him, just an Antoine Winfield made a mistake by not taking the contract restructure which was offered to him in 2013.

    Winfield never played in another regular or post season NFL game after his mistake, although there are certainly people who will try to sell the story that he could have. Actions speak louder than words.

    Jennings shopped himself around the league extensively after he refused the Vikings offer. Eventually, he signed in Miami for less money than the Vikings offered, and proceeded to have a horrendous season. How bad? Bad enough that he is now shopping himself around the league by leaving voice mails for GMs, hoping that someone will call him back.

    At this stage, the market for Jennings is almost nonexistent. There may be one, after the NFL draft, if a team decides that the draft failed to plug enough holes in their 90 man roster. I can see Jennings getting signed to a small money (by NFL standards), incentive laden, non-guaranteed contract after the draft.

    If not, injuries happen, and some team might sign him then. Of course, there is a big difference between kicking the tires on a player, and actually signing him. The Seahawks had an injury problem in 2013, and kicked the tires on Winfield. They then signed some prospect with a history of criminal sexual conduct, because they preferred a player with that kind of history over Winfield. Being able to play trumps all in the NFL.

    One way or another, I suspect that Jennings will be spending a lot more time with his family this football season.

    1. Yes, Jennings made a mistake not taking the Viking’s offer. Winfield’s mistake was probably less turning down Speilman’s offer – which was for what, exactly? – than signing with a team with the best and deepest secondary in the NFL, one that was also young and filled with guys drafted or signed by them. Signing a contract that allowed the team to save a million or more dollars if they cut you also didn’t help.

      Here’s a couple of facts for you, Mr. Kano. Winfield had a superb 2012 season according to Pro Football Focus. If memory serves, he graded out as their top cornerback in the NFL that year, and not just for his best-by-far run defense. In the slot, his coverage had been excellent – at or near the top of the league – and graded out better than his play against the pass on the edge. And where did our pass defense stink up the joint in 2013, without Winfield? Well, everywhere, but especially in the slot, where Leslie Frazier insisted on trying Josh Robinson out at a position he had never played before.

      Now here’s a few guesses for you, which I would say are just as educated as your guess that Winfield COULD not have played in the NFL in 2013.

      1. After 14 years, Winfield decided to retire with dignity instead of shopping himself around, trying to hang on for one more year (think Cris Carter in Miami) even if it meant playing in Cleveland or Jacksonville.

      2. Winfield felt insulted by Speilman’s offer – again, what were the details of that? – especially after playing so well and for nearly twice as many plays as they had expected in 2012, so he wrote the Vikings off. So, again, dignity.

      3. If Winfield had been healthy and played for the Vikings in 2013, his play at cornerback, and especially in the slot, would have almost certainly been the best on the team, better than that of Marcus Sherels (three starts), Shuan Prater (ditto), rookie Xavier Rhodes (six), Josh Robinson (10), Chris Cook (11) and the immortal A.J. Jefferson (0).

      Kevin Williams has proved his doubters wrong by starting for the better part of the last two seasons since the Vikings showed him the door, including in a Super Bowl (“Thanks, Rick!”). You seem certain that Winfield couldn’t have played in 2013 while I argue that he probably could have, and been a boon for us, to boot. I’ll let the other readers consider your evidence and mine and reach their own conclusions.

    2. Good comment ck.
      Kano will never miss an opportunity to drag Winfield through the mud.

      1. To be fair, I don’t think Mr. Kano is dragging Winfield through the mud; he’s done that to other players, including an unnamed Seahawk, but not Winfield.

      2. I simply speak the truth, to people who feel entitled to not hear the truth. It is always easy to recognize these people, simply by how emotional they become when confronted with the truth.

        One of the keys to success in this life is being able to assess the world for what it is, not what you want it to be.

        Best of luck to you.

          1. I expect that the 2016 Peterson will be a lot like the 2015 Peterson, just a year older and a year slower.

            He’ll hog too many touches, hurting the development of the passing game. He’ll disappear against teams with winning records, and pad his stats against everyone else.

            In key moments, he’ll choke and put the ball on the ground. When he does, he will look up to the sky with his look that says “Don’t I get something for claiming that you exist?”

            He’ll still be nothing more than a mediocre receiver. He’ll whiff on most of the blitz pickups that were his responsibility.

            He’ll feign trying to run from the shotgun. He won’t care that lining up in the “I” tells everyone in the stadium that it is a running play, because it might get positive yards and padding his rushing stats is his only agenda.

            If the team dials back his touches, he’ll go to the media and start throwing the coaching staff under the bus. If that doesn’t help, he’ll rediscover his twitter account and start making claims like “Playing in the NFL is like slavery!”, except he will spell most of the words incorrectly.

            You know, the same old same old.

  4. like wallace, teddy and jennings just didn’t click, and, who do you get rid of to make room for him? no, thanks

  5. Jennings’s numbers for his two years with the Vikings:

    2013 – 68 rec., 804 yd., 11.8 yd./rec., 4 TD
    2014 – 59 rec., 742 yd., 12.6 yd./rec., 6 TD

    He led the team in receptions, receiving yards and TD catches both years, the first in a tie and the second by a four-TD margin. Aside from the number of receptions, his numbers improved across the board with Bridgewater in 2014. The receptions and yards from either season would have led the team last year, as would the six touchdowns form 2014.

    I don’t know exactly what happened with the wide receivers in Miami last year aside from the two guys already on the team having good years, both free agents having lousy ones and their rookie first rounder making a fine impression over the last six games, but if Jennings were to come back to Minnesota, he’d already be familiar with the coaches, the QB and the other wideouts. So, hell yeah, the Vikes should kick the tires on him and if he still has air in them they should sign him to a low-base, high-incentives, low- or no-guarantee contract. I certainly wouldn’t bet against him winning the starting job opposite Diggs if Johnson, Patterson and a rookie or two are his competition (Wright being ensconced as the slot guy off the bench and Thielen on special teams first and the #4-6 WR).