The Minnesota Vikings made a great decision when they signed ex-Packer wide receiver Greg Jennings to a 5-year, $47.5 million contract Friday afternoon. Jennings’ signing is a net plus for the Vikings. Earlier this week, the Vikings traded Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks for a kings’ ransom.
There’s no questioning the fact that Harvin is a talented playmaker, a difference maker. That said, there’s no disputing that he’s a handful off the field.
In Greg Jennings, the Vikings get a veteran, a player known for his leadership in the locker room and the film room, a player known for his involvement in the community and for being a gifted receiver. This video interview with Vikings.com blogger Mike Wobschall says everything about Jennings’ character and personality.
Towards the end of Jennings’ interview with Wobschall, Jennings talked about playing with Adrian Peterson was the biggest attraction for him signing with the Vikings. It’s pretty certain that Jennings won’t see as many nickel and dime packages with Adrian in the backfield as he saw with Aaron Rodgers as QB.
Another thing that flashed through is that Jennings is excited to join the Vikings. He can’t wait to start digging into the Vikings playbook, citing his desire to learn Bill Musgrave’s offensive philosophy so he can play wherever he’s needed. Whether it’s lining up in the slot or outside the numbers, Jennings sounds like he’d like to line up wherever the biggest mismatch is.
When Harvin was traded, Adrian Peterson tweeted that he felt like he’d been kicked in the gut several times. I’m betting he’s feeling much better tonight. He’s got a gifted wide receiver on the outside who will take defenders out of the box to defend against Adrian’s runs.
It’s obvious that the Vikings hope Jennings’ signing will help Christian Ponder’s development. That said, one of the guys that will be helped by Jennings’ signing is Pro Bowl MVP Kyle Rudolph. During the second half of the season, Rudolph was pretty much the only guy who got open for Ponder’s passes.
Adding Greg Jennings through free agency and hopefully a wideout in the draft will take pressure off Rudolph, Ponder and Adrian Peterson.
This has been a productive week for the Vikings. They traded Percy Harvin for a first round pick and a seventh round pick in this April’s draft and a third round pick in the 2014 draft. They signed Greg Jennings and QB Matt Cassel, then resigned OT Phil Loadholt and FB Jerome Felton to four- and three-year extensions respectively.
The Vikings now have the 23rd and 25th picks in the first round to go along with picks in each of the seven rounds, including 2 picks in the fourth and seventh rounds.
When the dust settles after the draft, I’d bet that the Vikings will have had the most productive offseason of all the teams. Yes, other teams will have made big splashes. The Dolphins fit into that category. Ditto with Seattle and Denver.
Quietly, though, the Vikings will have kept a talented offensive line together, kept Jerome Felton around as Adrian Peterson’s lead blocker while likely adding some options for Christian Ponder. Finally, they’ll likely address their needs in the front seven, too.
That’s how smart GMs quietly build strong teams for years to come.
Tags: Minnesota Vikings, Rick Spielman, Greg Jennings, Adrian Peterson, Christian Ponder, Kyle Rudolph, Free Agency, Percy Harvin, NFL Draft, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers