What Are the Experts Saying About Greg Jennings to the Minnesota Vikings?

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystMarch 15, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 2: Greg Jennings #85 of the Green Bay Packers makes a catch against Jonathan Wilhite #29 of the Denver Broncos at Lambeau Field on October 2, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Matt Ludtke /Getty Images)
Matt Ludtke/Getty Images

After trading disgruntled star Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks, the Minnesota Vikings were badly in need of a number one wide receiver, and on Friday the team took steps to address that need.

As Adam Schefter of ESPN reports, the Vikings have agreed to terms on a five-year contract with wideout Greg Jennings, who spent all seven of his NFL seasons with the Green Bay Packers.

The deal didn't come cheaply, however, and ESPN's Josina Anderson was one of the first to relay the terms of a deal that will pay the 29-year-old just under $10 million annually.

However, according to Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin, Jennings might actually have ended up making up more money had he stayed in Green Bay:

According to one source, the Packers extended an offer to Jennings “a while ago” that averaged roughly $10 million per year, and the other source said Jennings’ agent, Eugene Parker, had been in discussions with the Packers about his possible return.

That's all water under the bridge now, and at least one former teammate both wished Jennings well and offered him a bit of friendly advice.

Bleachers Report's own Ian Kenyon chimed in that it's a deal that could soon leave both Jennings and the Packers waxing nostalgic.

The Vikings wasted no time trotting Jennings out for an introductory press conference, and Jennings relayed there, according to Wilde, that the wide receiver was looking for a new challenge:

I was looking for change. Green Bay, I gave them seven good years, they were seven great years for myself. I had a lot of success. We were able to win. It was great. At the same time, (the Packers have) a lot of young talent. The injury kind of hurt me last year and getting shuffled around a little bit. As a competitor, and as someone who wants to be on the field all the time and feels like he can still do it, I can definitely still do it. I can definitely still make plays and be as exciting as I was in my earlier years. And I'm not old. I'm 29. I’m not old Let me throw that out there. I am 29 years old.

So far as the wisdom of paying a 29-year-old wide receiver with durability issues that much money, ESPN's Kevin Seifert remarked that the Vikings really didn't have much choice:

For the Vikings, of course, it was almost mandatory to sign a player with the pedigree of a No. 1 receiver. The departure of Percy Harvin left them with Jerome Simpson and Jarius Wright as the "top" receivers on their roster. That duo would have offered minimal support for Ponder as he gears up for the most important season of his career, and as of now it means that Jennings can count on heavy attention from opposing defenses.

That didn't stop some from taking shots at Jenning's wisdom, however.

However, the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport pointed out that Christian Ponder didn't exactly have a wealth of options available to him in the passing game in 2012.

Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated, who graded the move an "A-", liked the move for the Vikings, calling Jennings "exactly the type of player Minnesota needed to complement sensational running back Adrian Peterson."

The Vikings had a lot of money to burn this offseason and, even before the trade of Harvin, a clear need at wide receiver. Jennings puts them in a much better position heading into the draft. And if they land one or two more options there, a potential positional weakness could become a strength.

Bleacher Report NFC North Lead Writer Andrew Garda agreed, although Garda admitted that there's going to be a ton of pressure on Jennings this season:

Yes, Ponder has a vertical threat in Jennings, but he's lost Percy Harvin. There's still Jarius Wright, who will be a very good receiver and Jerome Simpson who will be better for having Jennings there to take the pressure off.

But otherwise, this is still a paper thin group.

It will be up to Jennings to put the passing offense on his shoulders and carry it.

He's certainly paid enough to.

And that's my biggest reservation about this signing. Greg Jennings has shown in the past that he can be an elite NFL wide receiver.

However, Greg Jennings is also a wide receiver who has missed 11 games the past two years and will be catching passes from Christian Ponder, not Aaron Rodgers.

The Minnesota Vikings just gambled at least $18 million in the hopes that they get the Greg Jennings that put together three straight 1,000 yards seasons from 2008-2010.

Only time will tell if that gamble pays off.