If the Vikings were looking for performance under pressure, they found the right free agent receiver when they signed Greg Jennings to a five-year contract that could be worth up to $47.5 million.
Jennings had the highest percentage of clutch catches, defined as a first down or touchdowns, among the top free agent receivers. Although he was targeted only 62 times because he missed eight games due to an abdominal injury, 61.1 percent of 36 catches were clutch receptions and he had only one drop, according to STATS LLC.
Mike Wallace, who received a contract that averages almost $13 million per season, had a 51.6 clutch reception percentage on 119 targets, but he also had six drops.
Wes Welker and Danny Amendola were close to Jennings. Welker had a 61 clutch receptions percentage on an amazing 175 targets (with 10 drops) and Amendola had a 60.3 clutch percentage on 101 targets.
Of those four free agent receivers – Jennings, Welker, Amendola and Wallace – Jennings had the second-highest yards after catch per reception at 4.9 yards. Welker was first at 6.1 yards. Wallace was at 4.3 yards and Amendola at 4.2.
Jennings was last among the four in yards per reception at 10.2. Wallace led that category at 13.1 yards, Welker was at 11.5 and Amendola at 10.6.
Interestingly, the Miami Dolphins, now coached by former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, elected not to pursue Jennings and instead signed Wallace to a five-year, $60 million contract.
Philbin explained to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal that offensive coordinator Mike Sherman evaluated Wallace.
"We did a lot of homework," Philbin said. "We charted every catch he's made for the last couple of years, we charted every drop he's made for the last couple years. We got it on a picture and we know where all the dots are: inside the numbers, outside the numbers, this deep, that deep.
"When you're a receiver in the National Football League, you're kind of charged with a couple of simple jobs. One is to get open and two to catch the ball and No. 3 to block if it's a run. We expect him to get open, we expect him to catch the ball and hopefully make a couple of guys miss after."
Jennings said he expects to be used in a variety of ways in the Vikings offense, just like he was with the Packers during the first seven years of his career.
Jennings is tied for the career lead among active NFL players with four 80-yard catches.
Jennings offers the Vikings experience and something else they needed. According to ESPN, the Vikings in 2012 had 26 receptions of 15 yards or more down the field, including touchdowns, last in the NFL.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Stats show Jennings' clutch-catch abilities
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