Vikings' Jennings faces season without superstar QB

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 27, 2013 - 2:50 PM

Greg Jennings achieved much in his years in Green Bay, but he strives to help the team more than himself.

– Perhaps reaching the big 3-0 six days ago helped Greg Jennings, wise old philosopher, answer the most obvious Week 4 question when it comes to Greg Jennings, NFL receiver who no longer catches footballs from future Hall of Famers and is 0-3 for the first time ever.

The question: “How in the world do you handle the frustration of not playing with Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers?”

“Frustration?” Jennings said with a laugh. “What frustration?”

C’mon, Greg.

“No,” he said. “I feel you. And it’s a challenge. It really is. But it teaches me to humble myself.”

Jennings was speaking not in Green Bay, Wis., his NFL home the past seven years, but Watford, England, an hour outside of London, where his Vikings were getting backup quarterback Matt Cassel ready to start in case Christian Ponder’s rib injury prevents him from facing the Steelers on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

The last time a team Jennings played on changed starting quarterbacks was 2008. The Packers said goodbye to Favre in the spring, figuratively locked the door when he tried to come back in the summer and officially moved on with Rodgers in the fall.

In his career, Favre threw 10,169 passes and completed 62.0 percent of them. He won 186 games and threw 15 of his 508 regular-season touchdowns to Jennings.

Rodgers has thrown 2,787 passes with a 65.8 completion percentage and an NFL career-leading 104.9 passer rating. He has won 53 games and thrown 38 of his 179 TD passes to Jennings.

“In life, things aren’t perfect,” Jennings said. “But for my first seven years, they were pretty close. Especially at that position [quarterback].

“You learn not to take things for granted. But you also really focus on self-assessments. For me, if I see one of my teammates make a mistake, I automatically refer back to something I know I could have done better, so I don’t point fingers.”

Ponder has thrown only 874 career passes, but has completed only 59.2 percent of them. In 29 starts, he is 12-17 with 30 interceptions.

Cassel, who’s being hailed by fans as a potential savior of a lost season, was cast as villain only a year ago when the turnover-prone Chiefs went an NFL-worst 2-14. Cassel has thrown 2,044 passes with a 58.9 completion percentage. He’s 5-12 with 21 interceptions in his past 17 starts.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier acknowledged Thursday that NFL receivers can be a challenge. He speaks from painful experience less than seven months after having to trade Percy Harvin because he and the Vikings could no longer coexist.

“[Jennings’] personality is one where he’s not the typical superstar [where] he wants it to be about him,” Frazier said. “A lot of wide receivers really like things to go through them. That can be a high-maintenance group. Greg is an ultimate team guy.”

Jennings has 436 career catches for 6,697 yards (15.4) and 53 touchdowns. Yet he finds himself with 11 catches on a run-oriented team that’s one of only two in the NFL — Jacksonville is the other — that doesn’t have a wide receiver with a touchdown reception.

Jennings, of course, isn’t perfect when it comes to selflessness. He admits to battling the urge to call for the ball more. One of those times came in this year’s season opener, when he caught three passes for 33 yards while Jerome Simpson was catching seven for 140.

In the week after the game, Jennings sat down with Frazier in his office.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 114 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Cleveland 91 FINAL
Miami 101
LA Lakers 93 FINAL
Chicago 113
Golden State 86 FINAL
LA Clippers 100
DePaul 69 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 72
Ohio 58 FINAL
Nebraska 71
Colorado 66 FINAL
Hawaii 69
George Washington 60 FINAL
Wichita State 54
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question