Craig: Rough start for Vikings' Jennings

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 11, 2013 - 12:45 AM

Other WRs on new teams were productive; the Vikings need to extend drives and target the ex-Packers star more as the season goes on.

hide

Greg Jennings (15) could not catch a pass that was thrown to far over Lions defensive back Darius Slay (30) during NFL action at Ford Field between the MInnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions Sunday September 8, 2013 in Detroit, MI. Detroit beat Minnesota 34-24.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Anquan Boldin switched Super Bowl teams, faced a returning division champion and opened with 13 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown.

Wes Welker traded Tom Brady for Peyton Manning, faced the reigning Super Bowl champs and opened with nine catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns.

Danny Amendola left St. Louis for Welker’s old job and helped Brady wiggle out of an upset in Buffalo with 10 catches, seven of them third-down conversions, including two on a last-minute, game-winning drive.

Greg Jennings went from Green Bay to the Vikings, opened against a Lions team that ended last year with eight consecutive losses and caught … three balls for 33 yards in a 10-point loss?

Don’t blame Jennings. More so than any other NFL player, receivers are at the mercy of everyone else around them, particularly the quarterback. That’s often the excuse used to explain why so many of them are so darn moody.

Jennings doesn’t appear to be a moody guy, at least not by NFL receiver standards. But his patience certainly will be tested. That $47.5 million he signed on for will buy a lot of things, but two things it can’t purchase are: 1, Green Bay’s offense; and 2, Aaron Rodgers and/or Brett Favre, the only QBs Jennings played with before teaming up with Christian Ponder.

“Obviously, there are some things we need to correct,” Jennings said after Sunday’s 34-24 loss at Ford Field. “It’s all about sustaining drives and getting first downs.”

Those are things Jennings knows a lot about. In his seven years in Green Bay, Jennings never had a season in which fewer than 61.1 percent of his passes went for first downs.

Sunday, Jennings had one first-down catch for 20 yards. On 10 third-down plays, Jennings was targeted only twice. One attempt was badly overthrown under pressure and the other was a 4-yard dump off on third-and-11.

“One of the reasons we acquired him was to help move the chains and also for his ability to run after the catch,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. “There are some things that we can do a little bit different and we’ll look at that and try to have a better plan when we line up against Chicago this week.”

Frazier spent a large portion of his Monday news conference answering questions about offensive weapons that weren’t fired nearly enough. Of course, that’s going to happen when your team converts only two of 10 third-down situations, holds the ball for 23 minutes, 41 seconds and runs only 53 plays.

When it came to third-down conversions in Week 1, only the Browns (1-for-14) converted fewer than the Vikings. As far as number of plays, only the Panthers (49) and Chargers (51) ran fewer. And, yes, the Vikings’ total of 53 was exactly the number of plays that Chip Kelly’s hyper Eagles ran in the first half of Monday night’s game at Washington.

On the six third-down plays in which Jennings wasn’t the target and the Vikings didn’t convert, an argument could be made that three passes should have been directed Jennings’ way instead:

• On a third-and-11, Jennings was in the left slot. Ponder looked right, but ran from a collapsing pocket perhaps a split second too early before looking to Jennings on the left. Ponder gained 2 yards.

• On a third-and-5, Jennings was in the right slot. With a clean pocket, Ponder looked right, but stared down Jarius Wright, who had lined up wide right. Lions cornerback Bill Bentley jumped the route but dropped what should have been an easy pick-six.

• On a third-and-1 late in the game, Jennings was in the left slot. Ponder was sacked, but appeared to be looking at Jennings with just enough time to pull the trigger. Jennings was wide open 3 yards beyond the first down with room to run.

Jennings was asked after the game if the Lions did anything to try to limit his opportunities.

“Nope,” he said.

But Jennings didn’t seem upset. He has to understand that he’s kind of like Dorothy waking up in the Land of Oz. That wasn’t Kansas and this sure as heck isn’t Green Bay.

“These are things you learn from,” Jennings said. “It’s the first game of the season. It’s not our last game. Was this an important game? Absolutely. Is this a game where we put our heads down and throw in the towel? Absolutely not. You have to learn from the good games and the bad games.”

 

Mark Craig • mcraig@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Zygi Wilf sees threats to family in sharing financial data

    Tuesday September 10, 2013

    Zygi Wilf claimed in court papers that making public his family’s wealth would pose a threat to his family and impact his business dealings.

  • Read the replay: Vikings live chat with Chip Scoggins

    Monday September 9, 2013

    Vikings writer Chip Scoggins answered your questions about the team and discussed what needs to happen for Minnesota to win in Chicago in Week 2.

  • Mark Craig's Week 2 NFL power rankings

    Tuesday September 10, 2013

    1. Broncos 1-02. 49ers 1-03. Saints 1-04. Eagles 1-05. Patriots 1-06. Seahawks 1-07. Texans 1-08. Bears 1-09. Colts 1-010. Cowboys 1-011. Lions 1-012. Packers 0-113. Falcons 0-114. Bengals 0-115. Redskins 0-116. Titans 1-017. Rams 1-018. Ravens 0-119. Giants 0-120....

  • Lions' Suh fined $100K for low hit on Vikings' Sullivan

    Tuesday September 10, 2013

    Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh avoided suspension for his low hit on Vikings center John Sullivan on Sunday.

  • Suh fined $100,000 for low hit on Vikings' Sullivan

    Tuesday September 10, 2013

    The fine, believed to be one of the NFL’s largest, was the sixth for the Detroit defensive tackle.

  • Greg Jennings: Caught three passes for 33 yards in opening loss vs. Lions, with only one catch resulting in a first down.

  • VIKINGS week 2

    Noon Sunday at Chicago TV: Ch. 9 (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 1
LA Angels - WP: T. Skaggs 7 FINAL
Washington - LP: T. Jordan 2
Kansas City - WP: J. Shields 8 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: D. Salazar 2
Baltimore - LP: E. Meek 3 FINAL
Toronto - WP: S. Delabar 9
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Leesman 6 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 8
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 3 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: D. Gee 0
Miami - WP: J. Fernandez 1 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Wood 0
Minnesota - LP: K. Gibson 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Price 7
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 9 FINAL
Boston - LP: J. Lester 3
Arizona - LP: B. McCarthy 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Hammel 9
San Diego - WP: D. Roach 2 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: A. Figaro 1
San Francisco - LP: M. Bumgarner 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: F. Morales 2
Texas - WP: A. Ogando 5 FINAL
Oakland - LP: L. Gregerson 4
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 5 FINAL
Seattle - LP: E. Ramirez 2
Philadelphia - WP: A. Bastardo 3 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: J. Howell 2
Atlanta 85 FINAL
Indiana 101
Brooklyn 95 FINAL
Toronto 100
Washington 101 FINAL
Chicago 99
Tampa Bay 3 FINAL
Montreal 4
Boston 3 FINAL
Detroit 0
NY Rangers 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 1
San Jose 4 FINAL(OT)
Los Angeles 3
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which quarterback is best in the NFL draft?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close