During the 2013 offseason, former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings signed a 5-year, $45 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings. In his first season with the Vikings, Jennings was a bit of a disappointment. However, there is reason to be optimistic that Jennings will have a better second season with the team.
In 2013, Jennings tallied 68 receptions resulting in 804 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns. These numbers are solid, but not enough for a player being paid an average salary of $9 million a season.
There is reason to believe that quarterback inefficiency was a major product of Jennings’ low statistics in 2013. Jennings never seemed to get into a rhythm with former starting quarterback Christian Ponder. However, when Matt Cassel was the Vikings starting quarterback, Jennings caught all four of his receiving touchdowns as well as 491 of his 804 receiving yards. Conveniently, Cassel is slated to be the Vikings starting quarterback in 2014.
Also, Jennings is technically in a contract year as the deal he signed is a little misleading. The 2014 season will be the final year the Vikings will owe Jennings any guaranteed money. As a result, the Vikings will have the ability to release Jennings without receiving any cap penalties following the 2014 season. Simply put, if Jennings does not produce for the Vikings in 2014, he could find himself on the free agent market with the label of 31-year old, declining NFL wide receiver.
The Vikings new offensive coordinator Norv Turner places a heavy focus on the passing game in his offensive scheme. Also, Cordarrelle Patterson emerged late last season as a productive wide receiver and should take defensive focus away from Jennings. As a result, it should be expected that Jennings would have plenty of opportunities to put up impressive statistics regardless of whether Cassel or rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is the starter.
While Jennings is certainly not the player he used to be during his prime years, he still should have plenty of opportunities to fulfill his contract. A new offense and a more efficient starting quarterback should help Jennings improve on his average first year with the Vikings.