Some highlights from tonight's press conference to introduce receiver Greg Jennings, who left the Packers today to sign a five-year, $47.5 million deal with $18 million guaranteed:
General Manager Rick Spielman on a what was a very busy first week of free agency: "This has been a very exciting week for the Minnesota Vikings. ... Going forward, we'll continue to look at the [unrestricted free agent] market, but we're really going to hone in [on the draft]. I'm very excited about this next process of making the Minnesota Vikings better, and that's the draft coming up."
Coach Leslie Frazier on what Jennings brings to the team: "It really pumps some energy into our building, into our football team as well. It’s a great day for the Minnesota Vikings. There's no question about it. He's a young man that we have tried to corral for a number of years as we've tried to defend him. We're looking forward to a lot of great days. He brings a lot more to the table than just his athletic ability on the football field. We're really excited about the fact that he brings high character. What he'll bring to our locker room, the energy he'll bring to what we do in practice, along with his leadership, those were all qualities we were looking for."
Jennings' initial remarks: "Today is a great day. I’m looking forward to what the future holds. As a Viking."
On what he was looking for from the Vikings: "No. 1, I definitely wanted to know that they wanted me. I wanted to feel that they wanted me to be a part of what they were doing and a part of their future. And I got that feeling early and I got that feeling quite often. It didn't take long for that to surface and show itself."
On leaving the Packers: "I have the utmost respect for the Green Bay Packers organization. [General Manager] Ted Thompson, Coach [Mike] McCarthy, all those guys who I came out with on these grounds and tried to get wins against the Vikings, I have the utmost respect for. I'm very appreciative, but it is a business. This has happened before. I'm not the first Packer to jump on this side, so that makes it a little bit more relieving. It's exciting. It'll be business as usually. Obviously, it will be a little bit more meaningful to get a win over those guys than probably any other game on the schedule."
On Thursday night's dinner, which included Vikings DE Jared Allen: "I sat down at dinner and they had Jared there. You guys know what Jared Allen is and what he brings to the table. It was a family feel. It felt comfortable and that's what you're looking for. You're looking for something that's going to kind of fit like a glove. Something you're going to be able to step into and be able to be yourself and obviously be able to thrive. This is a situation where I feel I'll be able to be myself and be able to thrive."
What he was looking for in his next team: "From a football perspect, obviously, when you start to age and get years under your belt, you want to go to a team that's still a contender, that has an opportunity to continue to win but the window isn't closing, it's opening up. I saw that with this ballclub last year. They kind of snuck up on everyone, including the Packers. It's exciting to see what they bring to the table. For me to be a part of this, I'm excited to add what they've already brought to the table, to those 10 wins. Hopefully we can get 11, 12, 13, who knows. From a football standpoint and from a selfish standpoint as a receiver, you see a guy like All-Day [Adrian Peterson] sitting in that backfield and you see the cluster of guys gathered in the box for him, there's going to be some special things taking place on the football field. As a receiver, you always talk about about playing with a back like that. Standing on the other sideline, you're in awe of what this guy can do. And everyone knows he's going to get the ball. Just to be able to take some of the pressure off of him and off of this offense, I hope to be able to do that."
His thoughts on Christian Ponder: "I think it’s going to be a great deal. I think it’s a maturation process. He's gone through that and he's going to continue to go through that. We all continue to go through it. We all strive to be a better player year in and year out. It's no different with Christian. What I've seen on film, he didn’t have a lot of options to go to. No disrespect to the guys he was throwing the ball to, but you can just get a sense that he needed a little more around him to give him some help. Hopefully I can help him out a little bit and hopefully we can continue to add some pieces around him to make him the quarterback that he can potentially be. You can't just be one-dimensional in this league and be successful."
More on leaving the Packers and being `only' 29: "I'm excited. I was looking for change. I gave Green Bay seven good years. They were seven great years for myself. We had a lot of success. It was great. But at the same time, [they had] a lot of young talent, the injury kind of hurt me last year, getting shuffled around a little bit. As a competitor, I'm someone who wants to still be on the field and feels he can still do it. I can definitely still do it. I can definitely still make plays. I can be as exciting as I was in my earlier years. And I'm not old. I'm 29. I'm not old. Let me throw that out there. I am 29 years old. I will not be 30 until after the [season] starts."
More from Star Tribune
More from Access Vikings
Team opens at St. Louis on Oct. 13; home opener is two days later against Winnipeg.
The Vikings have the 23rd overall pick in the April draft.
Coach Zimmer remains convinced Bridgewater will start against the Raiders
The Vikings have mentioned in their pregame literature that fans will be directed to Williams, Mariucci or Ridder Arenas in case a storm disrupts the game at TCF Bank Stadium.
Vikings open preseason against the Raiders at TCF Bank Stadium.