Jennings seeks to be vital cog in Vikings offense

  • Article by: MATT VENSEL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 4, 2014 - 9:06 PM

Greg Jennings might be a bit forgotten in the Vikings’ new offense, but he’s ready for whatever role is needed.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings (15) talks with quarterbacks Christian Ponder (7) and Teddy Bridgewater (5) during an NFL organized training activity in Eden Prairie, Minn., Wednesday, June 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt) ORG XMIT: MIN2014072318405900

Greg Jennings says he is comfortable sharing the spotlight, that he doesn’t lose sleep over his receiving totals, that he is willing to do whatever he can to help young teammate Cordarrelle Patterson explode from a budding star into a supernova.

Wait, is this the same Greg Jennings who was on the debate team at Western Michigan? The one who loved to do the Lambeau Leap and scored two touchdowns in the Green Bay Packers’ Super Bowl XLV victory? The one who acted on prime-time shows such as “Criminal Minds” and “The League” and starred in that Old Spice TV ad a few years back?

“I don’t have to be the guy,” the veteran Vikings wideout, introspective as always, quietly but passionately told a reporter the other day. “It’s funny because the more experience you have, the most knowledge you gain — if you’re willing to learn.”

But that doesn’t mean that Jennings, soon to be 31 and somewhat overlooked entering the second season of a five-year, $47.5 million contract, plans on sitting in a rocking chair on the sideline and watching Patterson, tight end Kyle Rudolph and others catch all the passes in coordinator Norv Turner’s proven offensive scheme. Jennings is eager to show that he still is capable of shining, too.

Last season, Jennings caught 68 passes for 804 yards and four touchdowns in 15 games. The receiving yards were his fewest in a season in which he played more than eight games since his rookie year with the Packers in 2006.

“I don’t dwell on it,” he said. “I’ve never been a stat guy. At this position, I know that sounds a little too good to be true. Once you get caught up in the stats, I feel like it affects your game because you start worrying about your own individual success and you put that as a priority over the team.”

The game of musical chairs was a major factor, though, with the Vikings going back and forth between Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel and even trotting Josh Freeman out for a game.

But Jennings clicked with Cassel, catching 34 passes for 413 yards and three touchdowns in Cassel’s six starts. His other touchdown catch came after Cassel relieved Ponder in a Week 13 loss to the Chicago Bears.

“The big thing about Greg is he’s such a professional, and I think you have a great rapport with a guy like that because he understands where he’s supposed to be,” Cassel said. “Greg consistently being in the right spot along with his physical abilities, that makes for a great combination.”

While coach Mike Zimmer said Jennings still is a target for which defenses must account, he also praised Jennings for leading the team’s young group of receivers. Jennings says he would be comfortable in a complementary role if Patterson overtakes him as the go-to guy.

“There may be a guy that gets all the attention, but there’s a reason why he’s able to thrive,” he said. “Not taking anything away from that individual and their talent, but if they don’t have guys that are capable of allowing their talent to be showcased, then it doesn’t matter how much talent you have.”

Still, the Vikings aren’t paying him merely for mentorship. He is making big bucks to make big plays. Jennings knows this, but he says he isn’t worried about what the future might hold if he doesn’t meet the expectations that come with his contract.

“That hasn’t been my mind-set. Understanding how this league works, it’s a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league,” Jennings said. “All I can do is worry about me. Football is not the beginning and it’s not the end. It’s just somewhere in between, where I am in my life. … So while I’m here, while I’m in it, I’m going to give everything I have and enjoy it.”

  • related content

  • Vikings' Peterson amped for live action

    Friday September 5, 2014

    With no preseason action, virtually no practice contact and Sunday’s regular-season opener at St. Louis two days away, Adrian Peterson is ready to hit someone.

  • Greg Jennings:Receiver caught 68 passes for 804 yards and four touchdowns last season, his first with the Vikings.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tampa 6 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
LA Clippers 96 FINAL
Chicago 86
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Houston 105
Golden State 106 FINAL
Boston 101
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
Indiana 94
Portland 110 FINAL
Sacramento 99
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Orlando 83
Oklahoma City 108 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Denver 92
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Tampa Bay 3 FINAL
Florida 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Toronto 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Anaheim 3 FINAL
Dallas 1
St. Louis 5 FINAL(SO)
Vancouver 6
SMU 73 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Quinnipiac 65 FINAL
Manhattan 69
Fairfield 56 FINAL
Niagara 57
Marist 49 FINAL
Rider 59
Iona 60 FINAL
Saint Peters 68
Oregon State 56 FINAL
California 73
South Florida 55 FINAL
Houston 72
Marquette 66 FINAL
Providence 77
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
Siena 57 FINAL
Monmouth 63
Pittsburgh 66 FINAL
Wake Forest 69
Oregon 73 FINAL
Stanford 70
Purdue 61 FINAL
Ohio State 65
Arizona State 81 FINAL
Colorado 87
Washington St 67 FINAL
UCLA 72
Georgetown 66 FINAL
Providence 81
Binghamton 50 FINAL
UMBC 73
Elon 65 FINAL
Hofstra 58
Virginia Tech 47 FINAL
Boston College 49
(8) Louisville 59 FINAL
Virginia 75
Texas 69 FINAL
West Virginia 76
Creighton 53 FINAL
Villanova 61
Seton Hall 85 FINAL
Butler 76
UNC-Wilmington 76 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 65
(5) Maryland 69 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 48
Saint Josephs 67 FINAL
La Salle 55
Louisiana Tech 53 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 60
Rhode Island 70 FINAL
Massachusetts 78
Richmond 55 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 49
Davidson 46 FINAL
Fordham 54
St Bonaventure 43 FINAL
Duquesne 51
George Mason 45 FINAL
(22) George Washington 80
Indiana 60 FINAL
(20) Rutgers 71
(12) Texas A&M 63 FINAL
LSU 80
Ole Miss 47 FINAL
(11) Miss State 55
Clemson 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 61
Maine 47 FINAL
New Hampshire 61
Vermont 48 FINAL
Albany 76
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Monmouth 48
Saint Peters 47 FINAL
Siena 64
(4) Notre Dame 67 FINAL
NC State 60
Wisconsin 62 FINAL
Penn State 56
Stony Brook 49 FINAL
Hartford 56
Northeastern 47 FINAL
William & Mary 62
St Johns 61 FINAL
Xavier 74
James Madison 74 FINAL
Delaware 71
Towson 45 FINAL
Drexel 50
Illinois State 50 FINAL
Bradley 60
Southern Ill 74 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 70
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Wichita State 66
Minnesota 76 FINAL
(17) Iowa 92
(15) North Carolina 80 FINAL
(16) Duke 81
Alabama 73 FINAL
Auburn 80
(9) Florida State 69 FINAL
Miami-Florida 55
Arkansas 41 FINAL
Missouri 57
Georgia 52 FINAL
Florida 45
Dayton 95 FINAL
Saint Louis 68
Drake 57 FINAL
Missouri State 86
Colorado 46 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 59
(19) Stanford 55 FINAL
Oregon 62
Marquette 82 FINAL
DePaul 99
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 60
Vanderbilt 49 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 79
(2) South Carolina 56 FINAL
(13) Kentucky 67
Utah 41 FINAL
Arizona 64
Ohio State 78 FINAL
Nebraska 60
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
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 NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: With Adrian Peterson's suspension overturned, what should the Vikings do?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close