The Minnesota Vikings are looking to make additions at wide receiver and most believe it will be in the draft, but one former Viking is looking to get back with the team and made it clear he wants to return.
Greg Jennings and his wife Nicole appeared on KFAN’s Power Trip Morning Show Tuesday and he said that, if anything, his disappointing season in Miami may have actually done his 32-year old body some good.
“Come and get me, I’m ready!” Jennings said. “I’ll just say this. This year was a great year for me – believe it or not. It was a year that I was able to be refreshed. I barely played. Don’t get wrong. It was a humbling year. I was without my family. There were so many different things that I could sit here and make excuses. I’m not into excuses. It is what it is. I’m not going to lie. I missed being here.”
When the Vikings traded for Mike Wallace, it became clear they weren’t going to retain Jennings. He found a job with the Dolphins but saw limited playing time and, along the way, discovered how much he had fallen in love with the Twin Cities are and his teammates with the Vikings.
“You appreciate something more when it’s taken away from you,” Jennings said. “I never knew how attached I had become to the community of the Twin Cities.”
How serious in Jennings? He went old school and left a voice mail for Vikings general manager Rick Spielman letting him know of his availability. A week earlier, he ran into head coach Mike Zimmer and team salary cap masseur Rob Brzezinski at the owners meetings and let both of them of know that, if they’re interested, he’s working out in Boca Raton and good to go and ready to return for what he believes could help the professional maturation of Teddy Bridgewater.
“I’ve never been one to promote myself – I’ve never been one to do any of that – but I know what Teddy missed,” Jennings said. “I know what I missed. It wasn’t just Teddy. I developed a camaraderie with the guys. It is what it is. I don’t play this card game anymore. I’m not at the point of my career where I’m trying to make sure that I have leverage or playing this team (against another). It is what it is. This is what I desire. I want to be home with my family. The only way that I’m home with my family is if the Vikings pick up the phone and call me.”
Jennings wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s the Vikings or nobody else – if an opportunity comes his way for a legitimate shot at significant playing time, decent 32-year old money and a team with Super Bowl aspirations, he would be swayed.
Good teams are always looking for veteran leaders to set a positive example for younger players. Jennings believes he is that. He’s a believer in having diversity on a team in the position rooms. The Vikings have veterans at just about every position with the exception of wide receiver. Jarius Wright is the old man of the room.
When he came to Green Bay, Jennings said the core of the team and its heartbeat was its veteran players like Brett Favre and Donald Driver. They led by example and helped develop younger players more quickly into the system and helped maintain a winning stability.
When he looks at the 2016 Vikings, he sees a team that is primarily a young team and feels he could bring some of that veteran leadership.
“When I look at the Vikings organization, I see a young team,” Jennings said. “They have great leadership on the defensive side of the ball specifically. But when you go to the offensive side of the ball, they dealt with a lot of injuries. I get that. But, in a wide receiver room, where are the veterans? Where is the leadership? Where is the accountability? Those guys, I love them all. They are brothers to me. I played with all of them, with the exception of Mike. It’s not so much what I bring to the table – am I going to get you 1,500 yards? But I’m not going to sit here and promote that and say that’s where I’m at in my career. Can I get that done? Absolutely. You give me those targets, trust me, I’m going to make the plays.”
He not only wants to help the wide receiver room, Jennings’ primary motivation to return is to help Teddy Bridgewater and his progression as a quarterback.
As he sees it, last year didn’t produce the rise in NFL acumen that Jennings expected to see. With Adrian Peterson behind him, Bridgewater’s role changed and Jennings didn’t see the growth potential that is possible.
“Teddy has a great upside,” Jennings said. “The limit is himself. It’s not anything or anyone around him. It’s a matter of the coaches allowing him to blossom and flourish. It’s a little challenging when you have a guy in the backfield who can put the team on his back, but when you’re trying to develop and continue to grow and look into your future, you have to allow your quarterback to grow. That was the one thing as I watched – which I did watch – that I was a little disappointed in last year. You didn’t get to see Teddy grow and develop in that second year. He made strides, but they weren’t what I thought he was going to make.”
The answer at wide receiver for the Vikings may be solved in the first round, but Jennings believes he can offer something else. Whether the Vikings believe that is another question.