For Vikings fans, the signing of receiver Michael Jenkins didn't have the kick that rumors of interest in Braylon Edwards or Malcom Floyd produced, but the Vikings knew exactly what they were getting in Jenkins.
The familiarity with Jenkins goes deeper than his Atlanta Falcons connection with new Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. Receivers coach George Stewart was a big reason that Jenkins ended up in Atlanta in the first place.
"Coach George Stewart drafted me coming out of Atlanta, so I know him. I went to school when [Vikings defensive coordinator] Fred Pagac was at Ohio State, so there are some connections here already. It's just a great fit to be here," Jenkins said.
Jenkins admitted that the Vikings offense if "very similar" to the one he cut his NFL teeth on in Atlanta and the weapons are similar. Jenkins and Musgrave both see some similarities in the personnel between the two teams, including the running game, where Adrian Peterson is every bit the talent as Michael Turner in Atlanta.
Jenkins' blocking ability is one of the reasons he was a sought-after free agent for the Vikings.
"Michael brings professionalism. He brings a seasoned professional. He brings a physical run blocker to our wide receiver group," Stewart said. "He's probably one of the most dominating run blockers in the NFL as a wide receiver. He's going to help our young receivers because he steps in the first day and he knows our offense. So he gives us a chance for Percy [Harvin], for Bernard [Berrian], to have a chance to learn from him because he knows this offense inside and out."
Jenkin's physical presence could help increase the frequency of Peterson's explosive rushes and is clearly one of the reasons the Vikings were interested in him.
"Michael was what we thought he was when we drafted him – a physical guy that can make plays on the outside," Stewart said. "He's not going to be your No. 1 receiver. He's going to be a great No. 2, a great complement, and I think the people in Atlanta soured on him because he's a first-round pick. They thought he should be Randy Moss or Terrell Owens. We did not draft him for that purpose. We drafted him to be a great outside perimeter guy and catch some footballs."
But if the Vikings are going to succeed in keeping defenses honest, the passing game will need to possess a threat on the perimeter that can also get deep to keep defensives from loading up against Peterson in the running game, Harvin in the slot and tight ends in the middle of the field.
Jenkins, who ran about a 4.4-second 40-yard dash coming out of Ohio State in 2004, classified himself as having "deceptive speed."
"I'm excited to get out there and really show what all of us can do, getting down the field making plays downfield and making the tough grabs, underneath grabs, everything else that comes with being a receiver in this league," he said.
Stewart said Jenkins has the speed to stretch the field, but the receivers coach continued to preach about Jenkins' unselfish attitude and blocking skills.
"He can run real fast. He has great vertical skills, but he is what we want for this organization – [with] Adrian Peterson running the football, you want receivers downfield that are unselfish," Stewart said. "He's an unselfish guy with great talent."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Vikings: Jenkins more than a speed guy
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