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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Greg Jennings: Star / Mentor; Younger Vikes Learning From Ex-Packer Bookmark and Share

By: Dan Cole |

Mankato, MN – The Vikings haven’t had a wideout tally more than 1,000 yards receiving in a single season since Sidney Rice did so in 2009 – going for more than 1,300 during that fairytale season propelled by Brett Favre’s ageless play as a 40-year-old.

This season, another ex-Packer is hoping to leave similar wounds in the NFC North.

Greg Jennings caught Favre’s bullets for two seasons in Green Bay and has recorded three 1,000 yard seasons in his seven year career – consecutively from 2008-2010.

When Percy Harvin — the Vikings most lethal weapon at wideout the past few seasons — was dealt to Seattle in March, it left the need for speed and athleticism on the outside. It’s the hope that Jennings, who was signed to a five-year deal worth $47.5 million in March, will be able to surpass Harvin’s production.

“I always wanted to get a chance to play with Percy Harvin and get a chance to see our speed out there on the field together, so when he got traded I was a little down,” said Vikings receiver Jarius Wright, who is also expected to help make up for Harvin’s absence this season.

“Getting a chance to get Greg Jennings in was also a big upside — somebody who’s been where I’m trying to go and somebody who does great things. He’s been to Pro Bowls, he’s been to a Super Bowl, so there’s a lot I can learn from a guy like that.”

Wright’s not the only player hoping to learn from Jennings’s journeys. The Vikings active roster currently lists seven receivers that have spent two or less seasons in the league. That youth includes Wright and Vikings first-round draft pick Cordarrelle Patterson. Jennings is the eldest member of the receiver corps by two years.

Also with room to learn is Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder. Heading into his third season in the league, Ponder has yet to produce consistently as a starter – although he did take steps forward in 2012.

Despite being a subject of much criticism for the past two seasons (he is a starting quarterback, after all), Jennings says Ponder is doing a good job of not letting the millions of voices affect him.

“Typically what you find with quarterbacks, sometimes you can see that it starts to kind of irritate them a little bit, but he just washes it right off,” Jennings said. “Whatever he wants to take in he takes in; if it’s irrelevant it’s irrelevant. He doesn’t really show it, he just keeps going about his business. That’s one of the things I love about him.”

Jennings is certainly no stranger to playing for superstar – or even Hall of Fame-caliber – quarterbacks. He began his career with Favre, dealt with all that drama and since has been playing with the best quarterback in the league, Aaron Rodgers.

So a drama-free environment under an up-and-coming QB is an entirely new thing for Jennings, and something he’s learning to step into.

One of the best ways he says Ponder and him bond is a method as old as time – playing catch.

“That’s just me seeing the ball come off his arm and me catching the ball,” Jennings said. “It seems like it’s nothing but the more time we spend together in that period and just talk back and forth, the more I get to know how he’s thinking, the more he gets to know what I’m thinking and the more time we get to spend together.”

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