Vikings Should Take a Run at Former Packers Receiver Greg Jennings

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 12:  wide receiver Greg Jennings #85 of the Green Bay Packers catches a pass over cornerback Carlos Rogers #22 of the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Candlestick Park on January 12, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Vikings have a monstrous run game, an improving offensive line and a young quarterback in desperate need of weapons at wide receiver.

Yes, wide receiver Greg Jennings should be on speed dial and at 12:01 AM (EST of course) on March 12th when free agency starts.

Jennings, 29, is not likely to return to Green Bay as he'll want more money than the Packers are likely to give up, especially given that they have three very good receivers (Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones) and face some big money contracts in the very near future (Aaron Rodgers in 2015, Clay Matthews in 2014).

There are several places Jennings is potentially interested in, as reported by, but the Vikings have come up several times as a good fit for him, and it makes a ton of sense. 

If there is one big problem with the Vikings offense (and you could argue there might be more than one) it's a lack of a true vertical threat. Jerome Simpson was a bust in that regard, though injury hampered him as much as anything else. Still, he was never as good as Jennings has been.

Before getting hurt in 2011, Jennings had three straight 1,000-yard seasons with 60 plus catches each year. He caught another 67 in 2011 and would have likely flirted with career highs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns had he stayed healthy.

Of course, his health is a question mark, as he was hurt the last three games of 2011 (though he returned for the team's playoff loss to San Francisco) and was hurt most of this past season as well.

When Jennings did come back this year, his production was a bit up and down, though he did score four touchdowns over the last four games and caught 71 percent of his passes over that span.

He's clearly still got the talent.

The Vikings saw that up close and personal in Week 17 when he torched them for 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In fact, Minnesota has often seen what Jennings is capable of—especially at home where he'd be playing.

In fact, as impressive as Jennings is in general, he's even better on turf, which is what the Vikings are famously for using.

In his last three trips to the Metrodome, Jennings has caught 22 passes for 419 yards and six touchdowns.

It's just a matter of staying on the field.

The struggles he's had doing that the last two years actually makes him more affordable—he can ask for a lot of money but he can't be unrealistic. The Vikings could offer him an incentive-laden contract dependent on playing and hitting certain statistical marks.

Adding Jennings would do several things. First, it would free up Percy Harvin. Teams couldn't focus solely on him and would have to spread out more, which would give Harvin more room to maneuver.

It would also make it virtually impossible to put eight or more men in a box to counter Adrian Peterson. We already know what Peterson can do against a tremendously stacked front: win the MVP, top 2,000 yards and almost set the all time single-season rushing record.

Imagine what would happen if he wasn't dodging eight or nine men at the line?

Aside from the injury concerns, there are two more hitches.

First is financial.

Right now, the Vikings sit approximately $16 millions dollars under the 2013 salary cap. While that's not a lot of money and isn't quite enough to bag Jennings, they haven't really worked to clear cap space yet.

Remember, in the NFL, if there is a will there is a way.

So money shouldn't be a huge issue in terms of being able to sign Jennings.

However, signing a big-name wide receiver could be an issue for Percy Harvin both financially as well as from an attitude standpoint.

First of all, whatever Jennings gets, Harvin will want more. They do totally different things, but we know Harvin is already super-valuable to this franchise and will expect to be paid like the No. 1 option on the team.

So that already expensive extension we expect to be hammered out this year? You'd be able to expect it to take longer and cost more.

Meanwhile, you can imagine the ego that might crop up from a guy with—as ESPN's Kevin Seifert puts it—off-field question marks.

In that article, Seifert lists the up and down ride with Harvin just over the last nine months. That's not even taking into account the previous issues with contract woes and migraines which were a hallmark of Harvin for some time.

Bringing in another "name" wide receiver, even one who isn't exactly a marque type in the vein of Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones or AJ Green, would likely draw Harvin's wrath.

It's certainly a risk at least. One would hope that keeping his eye on the ultimate prize of a Super Bowl ring might limit Harvin's general apprehension, but you can never tell.

So the downside could be either of the financial or locker-room division nature—or even both.

But at the end of the day, the Vikings want to win a Super Bowl. While Jennings does not guarantee that, his presence would bring the offense a much bigger array of possibilities and allow the players already there to be that much more successful.

If nothing else, the upside makes the move worth considering.

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