5 Reasons Greg Jennings Should Be Excited to Be a Minnesota Viking
After all, Jennings was an integral part of the Packers offense and had won a Super Bowl in his time with Aaron Rodgers and Co. Now he embarks on a new adventure with quarterback Christian Ponder and the rest of the Vikings roster.
This may seem like a downgrade, and in many ways it is, but there are numerous benefits for Jennings as he makes his move from Green Bay to Minnesota.
He is undoubtedly happy with his shiny new five-year contract that is potentially worth $47.5 million, but there are plenty of other reasons for Jennings to be excited.
Let's examine the best reasons.
Honorable Mention: His Marketing Prowess Can Expand
Greg Jennings has proven to be one of the more marketable players in the NFL. He has become a fixture of our television screens with his ads for Old Spice.
However, there is one common thread between each of those commercials; Jennings is wearing his Green Bay Packers uniform. Now that he is donning the purple and gold, those ads have become disadvantageous.
Jennings will need new ads in his Vikings attire, and there will be a solid amount of buzz generated by his move to a division rival. His Old Spice ads will be freshened up, while local marketing opportunities in Minnesota are sure to come up.
5. Minnesota Made the Playoffs Last Season
Teams with the most money to spend in free agency are frequently the league's bottom-feeders. A lack of talent on their roster means less money locked up in big contracts and more to spend (potentially) on incoming free agents.
The big spenders this offseason, teams like the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, were not in the playoff hunt a season ago. However, Jennings managed to find a suitor in the Vikings that was willing and able to give him a big contract, but he also made the postseason last year.
There are great pieces in place in Minnesota. Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the NFL, Jared Allen is a dominant pass-rusher, and the team closed last year's regular season on a four-game winning streak.
Jennings is accustomed to competing for Super Bowls on a consistent basis, and while the Vikings may not yet be in that discussion, they are certainly farther along than other teams that were in the market for wide receivers.
4. He Can Make Christian Ponder Better
What makes Jennings a great receiver is not just speed or size, but the great route-running ability he possesses. It is an underrated skill that pairs nicely with Jennings' sure hands and penchant for finding the end zone.
These are the type of attributes that can greatly help a young quarterback, such as Christian Ponder, in his development. It is tough to become better when you are throwing to less-than-stellar receivers and have few players you can trust in tough situations.
Jennings will provide a consistent and reliable target that can be turned to in times of need. He can also stretch the field and help develop Ponder's lackluster vertical passing game.
Last season, Ponder did not have a single touchdown pass of 40 yards or more. Jennings has 18 such touchdown receptions in his career, so clearly, he will force defenders downfield and open up opportunities for Ponder.
It is up for the QB to take advantage of those chances, but the fact remains that Jennings will put Ponder in the right position to succeed.
3. He Stays in the Division
Greg Jennings has already spent seven seasons in the NFC North division. He knows how it works, how its defenses operate and how to succeed.
Players generally have something to prove when they face their old team for the first time and Jennings will have the chance to play the Packers at least twice in the 2013 campaign. Combine that with the four games he will play against the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions and you have six contests against foes that Jennings knows inside and out.
Meshing with the Vikings offense may not be immediate. It may take multiple weeks of timing routes and chemistry building before everything clicks, but divisional matchups will help ease the transition.
Jennings does not have to go learn the intricacies of a foreign division. He gets to stay where he is comfortable and has already had a tremendous level of success.
2. Adrian Peterson Will Keep Attention Away from Him
There is a clear lack of receiving talent around Jennings. Minnesota parted ways with Percy Harvin earlier in the offseason, leaving names like Jerome Simpson and Jarius Wright atop the depth chart.
However, Jennings will have one reprieve from the constant attention he will garner, and that is the presence of Adrian Peterson in the backfield. When the game's top running back is in the lineup, defenses are forced to account for him at all times.
The box will constantly be filled with defenders preparing to try and stop Peterson from chewing them up on the ground. This should, in theory, allow Jennings to find seams in the defense and create space.
Down and distance will not dictate the Vikings offense because Peterson is capable of running even on longer third-down situations.
1. He Will Be the No. 1 Receiving Option
It is obviously tough to think of going from a perennial Pro Bowl quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, to someone who still needs to prove his worth as a viable starting quarterback in Christian Ponder.
However, Jennings can take some solace in the fact that he will undoubtedly be the No. 1 receiving option for Minnesota. He may have also had that role with Green Bay, but it was not as clear of a distinction. He had to compete with the likes of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones.
The ball was spread around by Rodgers, allowing each of those players to register at least 745 receiving yards last season.
Players like Jerome Simpson and Jarius Wright are not going to post the same type of numbers because they simply are not as talented. Harvin was the Vikings only legitimate receiving threat, and that torch has now been given to Jennings.
He will get most of the attention from opposing secondaries, but that is the price one pays to be considered an elite receiver.