Greg Jennings wasn’t glued to the television Thursday night during the first round of the NFL draft. But when the Vikings first came on the clock, the draft suddenly had his full attention.
They would pick UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr with the ninth overall pick. Then at the end of the night, they traded up to take Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who is expected to eventually be the one throwing the football to the veteran Vikings wide receiver.
“What I know about him is he’s a hard worker,” Jennings said this morning. “He’s a smart kid. And he wants to get better. Just that alone, it makes you want to work with somebody.”
Jennings spoke to youth coaches this morning at a seminar entitled “A Call to Men: The Next Generation of Manhood.” The event was held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Afterward, he chatted with a couple of local reporters, including my colleague, Chip Scoggins.
Jennings said he had no idea whom the Vikings would select when they were up early in the first round of the draft. But he had a hunch it wouldn’t be Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
“I didn’t really think Manziel just because I know the personality of Coach Zimmer,” Jennings said of new head coach Mike Zimmer. “I truly believe that given any player, if they’re willing to work and willing to be better, these two coaches -- two literally head coaches that we have on both sides of the ball -- they can make anybody better. But I just didn’t think, which probably was what their thought was, that Manziel fit what we’re trying to get done personality-wise.”
Jennings, who was referring to coordinator Norv Turner as the offensive “head coach,” continued.
“When you’re making a coaching change and you’re raising the bar of accountability and you look at the past history and it’s tough because myself, you never want to hold anybody to that," he said. "You always want to continue to give someone the benefit of the doubt. But when you’re investing the amount of money that these owners and these clubs are investing, that carries a lot of weight.”
Anyway, back to Bridgewater. Jennings feels the 32nd overall pick is in a great spot here in Minnesota because he can learn from starter Matt Cassel without being rushed into action.
“Cassel is the best. If I were a quarterback, I would want Matt to be like my teacher,” Jennings said. “I would want to be behind a guy like Matt because he approaches the game like a true professional. He’s not afraid of helping those who are pursuing his position. He’s just not. His makeup is, ‘Look, if we can all be better, our team is going to be better.’”