The Minnesota Vikings have signed former Green Bay receiver Greg Jennings. There was no puff of smoke — white or purple — from the head office of the team, but many reports went for a Latinesque title, like Christopher Gates at the Daily Norseman:
Habemus Packem: Minnesota Vikings Sign Greg Jennings
After letting the initial rush of free agency settle down a little bit, the Minnesota Vikings finally made a move at the wide receiver position on Friday, signing Greg Jennings.
(That promo headline and the headline that you saw on Twitter was all Ted, by the way. Have to give him credit for that one.)
Well, ladies and gentlemen, there’s white smoke coming from Winter Park. And since Percy Harvin is in Seattle and I think Jerome Simpson is out of town, that can only really mean one thing.
We have a new receiver.
The five-year deal Jennings accepted was for $47.5 million with $18 million guaranteed. It is not quite as rich a deal as he was offered by Green Bay, but the opportunity to be the number one receiver was probably the difference maker (he’d be third or fourth receiver in Green Bay).
Also at the Daily Norseman, Ted Glover explains the Vikings’ painful recent history with their wide receiving corps:
A mercurial wide receiver wears out his welcome, but not before his team makes a playoff appearance against Green Bay. After the season, which ends in an early playoff exit, the superstar receiver finally pulls out the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and he’s traded to the West Coast for a first round pick, giving the team two first round picks and a golden opportunity to upgrade the roster.
No, I’m not talking about Percy Harvin. The year was 2005, and the receiver was Randy Moss. Moss wore out his welcome with the Vikings (maybe specifically Red McCombs), and the Vikings were able to trade him to Oakland for their first round pick and LB Napoleon Harris. Harris wasn’t the big catch in that trade, it was the Raiders first round pick, #7 overall.
The Vikings infamously used that pick from the Raiders to draft Troy Williamson, who has been the biggest bust in recent Vikings draft history not named Demetrious Underwood. I remember writing at the time that the Vikings needed to draft any position other than WR with that pick, because no matter how good that player might have been, he would always be compared to Randy Moss.
Williamson moved fast to make sure those comparisons would never had to be made, though. And other than a Pro Bowl season from Sidney Rice in 2009, the Vikings receivers as a group haven’t really recovered since then.
Which is why, on the heels of the Harvin trade, Greg Jennings is such a big deal for the Vikings. He’s been a top NFL wide receiver for several years, and his signing might be the first step in replenishing what has historically been a position of strength for the Vikings.