WR Greg Jennings, Free agent
HT: 5-11, WT: 192, Born: 9-21-1983, College: Western Michigan, Drafted: Round 2
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Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full ADP list]Overall: C Michael (141), Greg Jennings (142), K Stills (143), S Smith (144)
Position: D Amendola (132-WR49), J Gordon (139-WR50), Greg Jennings (142 - WR51), K Stills (143-WR52), S Smith (144-WR53)
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PPR Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full PPR ADP list]Overall: H Miller (138), Greg Jennings (140),
Position: J Gordon (133-WR50), K Stills (135-WR51), Greg Jennings (140 - WR52), M Wheaton (144-WR53), J Matthews (147-WR54)
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Jennings is the receiver with the most experience on this team, and a rookie QB is going to need a safety blanket. Jennings could be the guy that Teddy Bridgewater turns to when he is in trouble. Bridgewater’s ceiling becomes Jennings’s ceiling as well. The Vikings won’t throw for much more than 3000 yards this season, and if Jennings can pull down a third of that, it would be a very successful season for him.
Jennings falls down the depth chart, and with a simplified passing game, his stats suffer even more. Last season he barely cracked the top 40 for fantasy wide receivers. This season, he could fall even farther. With Adrian Peterson as the big red zone threat, Jennings doesn’t get into the end zone more than four or five times.
A new year, a new quarterback and a new offense mean new opportunity for Jennings. Unfortunately for Jennings and fantasy owners, it doesn’t mean a return to the top 20 stats that Jennings produced just a few years ago. Minnesota isn’t a pass-heavy team like Green Bay and Jennings isn’t the receiver that he was three years ago. He may be the veteran wide out, but he isn't the team's most valuable fantasy receiver this season.
2013 Game Summaries
Week 1 - It looks very much like Greg Jennings and Christian Ponder aren't quite on the same page yet, which would account for the handful of targets Jennings saw as compared to other guys like Jerome Simpson. A lot of the passes thrown to Jennings were off target. They were just behind, just too high, on the wrong shoulder,you name it, it went wrong. Jennings made some tremendous efforts to bring the balls down but most of time just couldn't come down with it. Jennings did make an excellent catch at 9:41 in the third quarter where Ponder threw a pass very low and behind Jennings, but the receiver made an outstanding effort to get the ball. Jennings dragged both feet, twisting his body backwards as he fell to make the catch. Most of the problems between Ponder and Jennings should fade over time, as it seemed more like they were still getting the timing down than either one struggling badly otherwise.
Week 2 - After a Week 1 where it seemed as though Greg Jennings and his quarterback Christian Ponder were still lacking in the chemistry department, Week 2 saw a lot more synchronicity. Ponder targeted Jennings a team-high six times, at least half of which were long balls Jennings caught. On the first, an 18 yard throw down the right sideline, Jennings put a lovely move on cornerback Tim Jennings and got around him. Ponder dropped the ball perfectly in stride, though he left Jennings hanging for a big hit by safety Chris Conte. Jennings held on for the catch. The second long throw a minute later was pretty short and Jennings couldn't get free of Tillman enough to make the catch. Jennings also made a great catch on a perfect throw by Ponder near the end of the fourth quarter. On the play, cornerback Isaiah Frey fell behind Jennings as he crossed on his route and Ponder put the ball perfectly between Frey and the safety for Jennings to make the catch. While Jennings took another big hit (which might worry you as eventually that could catch up with him over the course of the season), he again held onto the ball for another big gain. It looks very much like Jennings and Ponder have gotten on the same page and will be very productive.
Week 3 - Greg Jennings had a long day as Cleveland was intent on making sure he couldn’t find any open space in which to operate. The second pass of the game found Jennings wide open down the sideline for a big play, but after that almost all of his chances came on shorter passes. Jennings did almost score on a short lob from Christian Ponder in the end zone. Cornerback Buster Skrine made a nice play throwing his hands up in the air and batting the ball away before Jennings could secure it. That was Jennings’ only shot at the end zone on an otherwise quiet day.
Week 4 - It wasn’t the quantity with Greg Jennings on Sunday, but the quality. Four targets is a pretty low number but when two of them are touchdowns, it’s hard to complain. Overall the Steelers did a pretty good job of covering Jennings, including on the very first target. The ball was slapped down by Cameron Heyward but might have been picked off by safety Ryan Clark who was right on top of Jennings. On the next target, Jennings showed why the Vikings were so interested in having him on board. On the play, Jennings ran a short route down the sideline, tined and caught a short seven yard pass, then turned and made cornerback Cortez Allen miss. Jennings then broke upfield and cut inside, making another defender miss. After that he accelerated and while two more defenders dove at his feet, they weren’t stopping him from scoring. His other touchdown involved a lot less running, though plenty of effort anyway. On the play, Jennings began his route by running towards the end zone, then took a step towards the outside corner. While he sold the outside step, Jennings then pivots inside and it’s all the defender (again Cortez Allen) can do to keep his feet. Cassel puts the ball high and where only Jennings will get it and the receiver hauls it in for the score.
Week 6 - The very first target for Greg Jennings didn’t bode well for his day as it was terribly overthrown and resulted in an interception. All Jennings appeared to be doing was a an “IN” route about 20 yards deep but Cassel threw it much longer—whether it was just an awful throw or a mixup where Cassel expected Jennings to run a “Post” isn’t clear but the result was a pass nowhere near the receiver. The next target resulted in a very nice catch by Jennings, as Cassel rolled to his right and delivered a hard pass right on the sideline. Jennings caught the ball cleanly and tapped both toes in for the catch. After a very quiet first half, Jennings saw a lot more targets but he and Cassel continued to have issues connecting on anything more than short passes. He was the target on an underthrown ball in the third quarter which forced Jennings to stop his route and come back for and then was nearly intercepted and then the target on another pass—this one overthrown—which was intercepted. The play took place in the fourth quarter, on another “IN” route. In this case, Jennings was already well covered but instead of leading his receiver, Cassel let the ball get away from him and threw it high where it was once again caught by safety Mike Mitchell. Jennings did drop a ball late in the fourth quarter on a short pass out along the left sideline, but for the most part his quiet day was a combination of good coverage, short catches and badly overthrown balls.
Week 7 - Right about now, Greg Jennings has to be feeling worse than when he told Ben Goessling of ESPN that if someone had told him he’d play with so many quarterbacks in such a short stretch of time, he might not have signed with Minnesota. Jennings may have played it off as a joke, but perhaps there is some truth to it. While Jennings saw more targets (10) than any other receiver, many were wildly off target and badly thrown. While Jennings was often able to find room to work with against the Giants’ bruised and battered secondary, quarterback Josh Freeman just couldn’t hit him with a pass. The balls were often behind Jennings and he also got hung out to dry across the middle more than once, though the worst one resulted in being destroyed by Giants safety Antrel Rolle and left Jennings shaking his head to clear the dust. Freeman was just not able get the ball to Jennings. Part of that is chemistry—Freeman had practiced just four days with his offensive players—but we may be seeing the limitations of what Freeman can do post-Tampa Bay in which case Jennings could be in for a real roller coaster ride.
Week 8 - This must have been a nightmare for Greg Jennings. To see your former team, who you haven’t exactly been saying nice things about the past months, come into your stadium, punch your team in the mouth and do it without most of their top receiver options—that just can’t feel good. Neither can almost being shut out by your old team. On his very first target, Jennings started to go out on a short route, but quarterback Christian Ponder took the snap and then threw the ball where Jennings had been moments before. Clearly Ponder expected the play to be a screen while Jennings thought it was something else. Either way, to see them not on the same page in Week 8 is not a good sign. Jennings did draw a questionable pass interference call on Packers quarterback Tramon Williams at the end of the first half, which would lead to an Adrian Peterson touchdown. The last target was thrown in the fourth quarter behind Jennings and at his feet. Overall, Jennings was well covered by the Packers’ secondary, and even when he wasn’t he and Ponder seemed to be out of sorts.
Week 9 - It looks as if Greg Jennings and Christian Ponder are finally beginning to “click” and Ponder looks like he is targeting Jennings more often. That is a good news/bad news sort of situation as his tendency to look for Jennings—much like his tendency to aim the ball in tight end Kyle Rudolph’s direction during the 2012 season—can be used against him. This week, Dallas cornerback Orlando Scandrick took advantage of it early in the fourth quarter. On the play, Jennings went on a long vertical route and Scandrick appeared to watch Ponder’s eyes. Ponder, as he sometimes does, stared Jennings down and Scandrick drifted towards the receiver. Ponder threw a high ball, a tad short, and didn’t seem to see Scandrick in the area. The Cowboys defensive back made a nice leaping grab and picked the ball off, killing the drive. The most effective the two are seems to be on the shorter routes, though the vast majority of Ponder’s throws were short so it’s hard to know if the two can be more effective long than they were on the interception. Still, it seems like they are on the same page most of the time now, so this could be the start of a nice run of production.
Week 10 - The targets for Greg Jennings continue to bounce up and down from game-to-game, with this past game against Washington definitely in the column marked “down.” It didn’t start off well either. The very first target was a wildly underthrown ball on a deep route. Not only was the ball underthrown but quarterback Christian Ponder failed to see safety Brandon Meriweather coming across the field. The combination resulted in an interception and a big return. Jennings was targeted three more times by Ponder, catching all three. He was never targeted by replacement quarterback Matt Cassel after Ponder went down with a shoulder injury at the end of the third quarter.
Week 12 - The first time former Packers and current Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings saw his old team, he was only able to haul in one pass and his team lost. This time out was little better as Jennings saw the same amount of targets (three) and was well covered throughout the game. In fact, his very first target didn’t come until midway through the third quarter. His route was a short “post” across the middle and quarterback Christian Ponder hit him in stride. Jennings was able to add on a few more yards because of that before being brought down. Jennings had an opportunity to extend a drive late in overtime when Ponder hit him with a short pass. Jennings couldn’t hold onto the ball though and the Vikings were forced to punt the ball away. The pass wasn’t great but it hit Jennings in the hands and is the sort of pass a receiver has to catch.
Week 13 - After seeing very little action from starter Christian Ponder, Greg Jennings was very busy when Matt Cassel entered the game. Jennings ran several intermediate routes, resulting in receptions of 11 and 19 yards. One both catches, Jennings did a good job getting separation from defenders and then catching the ball cleanly before being tackled. On his 8-yard touchdown in the middle of the fourth quarter, Jennings ran a corner pattern to the far corner of the end zone. Under intense pressure, Cassel threw the ball where only Jennings could get it and the receiver did a good job of getting both feet in while securing the ball. Jennings continued making big catches in overtime, including a key first-down conversion where the receiver found himself wide open along the left sideline and helped set up the game winning field goal.
Week 14 - Quarterback Matt Cassel threw the ball to Greg Jennings a lot but the veteran wide receiver had a hard time shaking coverage. The two had the most success hooking up on short passes, when Jennings lined up against linebackers or could take advantage of the coverage giving him some cushion because of the elements. Overall, Jennings didn’t have a huge impact on the game but his constant targets means that regardless of who is the quarterback, he will be heavily involved in the game plan.
Week 15 - Sunday was the day when it all came together for Greg Jennings as a Minnesota Viking. He saw a high volume of targets which were actually catchable, was able to get separation and make some really big plays. The biggest was the 57-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter which gave the Vikings a lead they never relinquished. On the play, Jennings lined up on the left side in the slot and ran a post-corner across the field to the right sideline. Matt Cassel did an excellent job of standing in the pocket under pressure so Jennings could get open. Jennings did so and then Cassel hit him with a picture-perfect pass which Jennings caught in stride and took to the end zone. Overall, Calle and Jennings appeared to have perfect chemistry and timing. Wherever Cassel threw the ball, Jennings was there and Cassel constantly put his receiver in situations he could win with excellent ball placement. Previous defenses have been able to keep up with Jennings by playing a very physical game against him and sometimes bringing a safety over to help a corner. On Sunday, the Eagles seemed to be content to play off him in man coverage and he burned them on a consistent basis.
Week 16 - As was the case with every Vikings receiver, Greg Jennings suffered through a miserable performance by quarterback Matt Cassel. Luckily for Jennings, Cassel was more accurate on short passes—at least ones aimed to Jennings—and that’s where the receiver made most of his catches. He was the target of an interception though, a back-breaking pick-six in the second quarter. On the play, Jennings ran a short button hook type route—unfortunately the play design had three receivers in the same spot and with defensive lineman Michael Johnson dropping back, there were too many defenders in the area.
Week 17 - It hasn’t been an easy season for Greg Jennings, as he has had to get used to a new offense while seeing a different quarterback on an almost weekly basis. Jennings is also learning what it’s like to lack a quarterback who can throw you open. Matt Cassel isn’t that guy, so the majority of Jennings’ catches come when he has managed to get separation, as was the case Sunday. Cassel isn’t going to make many pinpoint accurate passes, so Jennings didn’t see a high number of targets. The Lions overall did a good job of blanketing him, but Jennings did manage to break free a few times and made the most of those chances.