Although his stats don’t jump off the page, Greg Jennings is having a productive season for the Minnesota Vikings and is still one of the better receivers in the NFL. Jennings had his best game of the season this past Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles when he caught 11 passes for 163 yards and one touchdown. That performance brings Jennings’ total touchdown count on the year to four, all of which have come from the rarely seen Matt Cassel.
While all of Jennings’ touchdowns have come from the hands of the veteran Cassel, his best games of the season have come when Cassel, not Christian Ponder, has been the man under center. Cassel has clearly looked like the better of the two quarterbacks this season which helps put to rest the thought that Jennings has fallen off the map since coming to Minnesota.
Some have criticized Jennings for leaving the Green Bay Packers to join the rival Vikings, which is warranted given his comments since leaving the Packers. However, those who have claimed his level of play has declined since coming to Minnesota are beginning to be proven wrong. For those who watched Ponder under center, it was clear no individual wide receiver could ever stand out given the majority of the play calls were either runs or check down throws.
Jennings’ numbers suffered because of this game plan, but now that he’s shone when Cassel has been the team’s signal caller on a couple different occasions, expect him to play a bigger role in the Vikings’ remaining two games. It’s now been three seasons since Jennings has eclipsed 1,000 yards — in 2010 and ’11 he played less than 14 games. He’s just an eight-year veteran who has some of the best hands in the league and should be a big contributor for the Vikings during the course of his five-year contract.
Jennings played a huge role in the emergence of Aaron Rodgers in 2008, his first of three consecutive 1,000 yard seasons, and has played at a consistent level every season since. It’s clear Jennings benefits from having a competent quarterback throwing him passes, as do all wide receivers, but it’s also clear he’s still at the top of his game and simply needed a better quarterback to show it.
Vikings sources have been quoted as saying the team will be parting ways with Leslie Frazier, Christian Ponder, and Josh Freeman in the offseason. This likely means Cassel will be the team’s starter for the remainder of the season as it appears he continues to have a chance to not only make the squad next year but see significant time on the field. This is great news for Jennings who will not only continue to make plays this season but should get back on track in 2014 when the Vikings either have Cassel or a new franchise quarterback under center.