QB rotation a ‘challenge' for Jennings

Greg Jennings has already had as many starting QBs in six games with the Vikings as he did in seven seasons with the Packers. How is he taking all the changes at the all-important position?

For the entirety of his career with the exception of one game at the end of the 2011 season, Greg Jennings spent his first seven seasons catching passes from just two quarterbacks – Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.

With Wednesday's announcement that Josh Freeman has concussion-like symptoms and that Christian Ponder will likely reclaim his starting job – for this week anyway – this will be the third change it quarterback that Jennings has played with in the last five weeks (Ponder in Week 3, Matt Cassel the next two weeks, Freeman last week, and Ponder again this week).

For a player who has spent his career on the receiving end of a pair of Hall of Fame-caliber quarterbacks, the flux of the Vikings quarterback position has been something he didn't expect and is trying to adjust to on the fly.

"It's definitely been a challenge," Jennings said. "Any time you've had something that has been a constant in your life and then a shift takes place and it's not longer a constant, it's going to take some adjustment. It's all about how you approach it. The way I approach it is that I have to be the best receiver for whoever is taking the snaps and throwing me the ball."

Jennings stressed that the Vikings are confident in what Ponder can do and that, after being taken out of the starting lineup, he has done all the right things in keeping himself ready and prepared in the event that an injury took place that would require him to be reinserted into the starting lineup. While nobody likes to lose their starting job, the true measure of a player is how he handles a demotion and how it motivates him to come back better and stronger than before.

"It's all about being a professional," Jennings said. "Any time you have to take a back seat, any time you have to sit down for a minute, it gives you a chance to reflect. I think he's done that. He's seen how important it is to play at a high level, but even more importantly, how important that position is to the overall success of the team and what it takes to hold that position. It's not just about your quarterback play. It's about how you lead off the field and on the field."

The carousel at quarterback is almost unprecedented for the Vikings having a different starter in four of five games and has created its own set of issues. During the regular season, the starter takes almost every snap with the first-team offense during practice, so there isn't a lot of time to work with others to get timing down between a quarterback and his receiver corps. But, just as the receivers start to get on the same page with a quarterback, he gets replaced and the process begins all over again.

"It's difficult, not only for them, but for us as well," Jennings said. "You're trying to rhythm up with a guy, but there's a lot of rotation and some uncertainty at that position from week in to week out. No matter who is back there, they have our 100 percent support. That will be no different with Christian."

Sunday night will be the first meeting between Jennings and his former Packers teammates and he said he's looking forward to seeing a lot of the players that Jennings forged friendships with. But, while there will be plenty of people on the field that he has long-term relationships with, he feels he will have to shut that down because he's no longer in green and gold, he's in purple and gold now.

"I've got a lot of familiar faces in this locker room that I've enjoyed suiting up with even though it hasn't been what we've hoped it would be," Jennings said. "We have to make it what we want it to be. I think we have the guys in here to do that. I'm excited about dressing up with these guys and making sure that we get this ship headed in the right direction."


John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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