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Bleacher Report – Vikings

“He’s Not The Typical Route Runner…” Ponder Still Adjusting To Jennings’ Style

Photo – Aj Mansour (KFAN)

By: Aj Mansour |

Mankato, MN – Statistically speaking, when you bring in a new free agent player you would like to think that you have a decent idea of what you’re going to get. On paper, the equation looks simple. The reality of the matter is usually not that simple. You never quite know exactly what that player is going to be until you are on the field with them. What sort of style is he going to have? What sort of odd quirks come along with him?

For Christian Ponder, this was the exact kind of adjustment that was necessary when his new wide receiver Greg Jennings stepped onto the field for the first time in Minnesota.

“He runs routes so differently than everybody else,” Ponder said Wednesday morning. “How he attacks leverage, he does a lot of movement with his body and his head which is great. He does a great job of getting open, it’s just a little different when you watch him on film.”

Jennings came to Minnesota with 6,537 yards receiving and 53 touchdowns already to his name. But he had done so with elite two level quarterbacks in Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Adjusting to a quarterback who had not fully made his own adjustment was going to be a new experience for Jennings no matter how he looked at it.

Back at the podium for his final Training Camp send off, head coach Leslie Frazier confirmed that there had been some bumps along the road early for Ponder and Jennings, but that it’s getting better as time goes along.

“One of [Greg’s] strengths is his route running but he’s not the typical route runner,” Frazier echoed. “He does a lot of ‘stemming’ in his routes…If he wants to run an out-route for example, he’s not just going to run up the field and break out. He’s going to stem that defensive back inside to try to get his hips turned or his feet out of whack and then he’ll break outside. When he releases from press coverage he’s not a guy that’s just going to release. He does a lot of shaking at the line of scrimmage.”

It’s been extra film study on his own teammate for Christian that has helped him adjust to Jennings unique style.

“For a quarterback you have to adjust to how he runs routes and how effective he is at getting it done because you don’t want to change what he’s done at this point with the success that he’s had,” Frazier added. “So as a quarterback you’ve got to adjust to when he’s going to get in and out of his routes and at what point is he going to break out of that route.”

So far so good says Frazier who continued by adding, “our timing during this training camp has improved as Christian has gotten more comfortable and more familiar with the way that Greg runs his routes.”

Both Ponder and Jennings should expect to play well into the second quarter of this Friday’s game against the Buffalo Bills, a game that will truly be the first “live” test for this dynamic duo.

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