The most obnoxious Packers fans (and they really don’t represent the entirety or even majority of the fan base) vented on Twitter late last week about Greg Jennings, calling him a “looser” (loser) or “trader” (traitor) and, well, much worse.
When they weren’t doing that, they were often mocking the Vikings for pilfering another player that the green and gold could presumably live without. If you are a Vikings fan, however, you say this: First, Jennings is not that old. He’s 29. That can be considered the middle of a career, not the twilight. Second, the formula might have been used before — but the Vikings keep doing it because, well, it has worked. Think of major moves the Vikings have made involving ex-Packers in recent years. They all follow a similar script:
• Darren Sharper: He was very similar to Jennings in that he entered offseason following 2004 as a 29-year-old. The Packers decided they could go younger — or at least didn’t want to pay him. The Vikings scooped him up and the safety played four seasons here, collecting 18 interceptions and starting 62 of a possible 64 games while shoring up a position of previous weakness.
• Ryan Longwell: Green Bay didn’t want to keep paying Longwell. “Come March, when it was crunch time, they weren’t there,” Longwell said in a 2006 Star Tribune story. The Vikings signed him and he gave them six years of stable kicking, something they did not have for many of the previous years. Longwell missed 22 field goals in his six seasons here. Mason Crosby, Longwell’s replacement, has missed 46 field-goal attempts in his past six seasons.
• Brett Favre: Let’s be clear on two things. 1) Nobody is going to say the entire Favre Era in Minnesota was perfect. 2) Nobody is going to say the Packers were dumb to part ways with him when they did, considering Aaron Rodgers might be the best QB we have ever seen play the game. But this remains: The Vikings came within a whisper of the Super Bowl in Favre’s first (and magnificent) season, making the whole noble experiment worth it.
There’s no reason to think Jennings won’t pay off as well.