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Week 8: Greg Jennings chose the wrong door in Minnesota
October 24, 2013 - Matt Wellens
If you thought my tale of former Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn was sad last week, get ready for a real tear jerker this week about a former teammate of Flynn’s.
You may have heard this one before, but bear with me.
From the makers of “Antonio Freeman” and “Javon Walker,” I bring you, “Greg Jennings.”
The former No. 85 is on the fast track this season to join a prestigious list of former Green Bay Packers wide receivers who gave up everything to make it in the NFL on their own, out of the shadow of a MVP quarterback.
Freeman only lasted a single season outside of Green Bay, signing in 2002 with the Philadelphia Eagles.
After averaging 68 catches and 1,067 yards per season from 1996-2001 with Brett Favre at QB, Freeman was limited to 46 catches for 600 yards playing with Donovan McNabb, A.J. Feeley and Koy Detmer in Philly. He returned to Green Bay the following year.
Walker had a Pro Bowl season in 2004 with the Packers and Favre, catching 89 passed for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns. The success went to the receiver’s head as he demanded a new contract in the offseason and was denied. Walker then threatened to hold out all of 2005, got called out by Favre, and in the end reported to camp — only to injure his ACL in Week 1 of 2005.
The Packers traded Walker to the Denver Broncos in 2006 and after he caught 69 passes for 1,084 yards and eight TDs that season with Jake Plumber and Jay Cutler, Walker never played a full season again, eventually retiring with the Oakland Raiders after two seasons with JaMarcus Russell in 2008 and 2009.
Now we come to Mr. Jennings, who turned down a winning franchise in Green Bay, MVP QB Aaron Rodgers and a reported $10 million per year offer from the Packers prior to free agency in order to test the waters.
What Jennings got was the basement-dwelling Minnesota Vikings, a reported five-year contract that averages only $9 million per year and a whole dumpster fire of quarterbacks in Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman.
Playing for those three, Jennings has caught only 24 passes for 327 yards and two touchdowns in six games.
That would rank Jennings fifth on the Packers in receiving, but he’s apparently OK with that.
When asked Wednesday whether he missed Rodgers as his QB, Jennings responded: “No, man. God has blessed me to move on from that. I’ve embraced my situation and my role here and my teammates here.”
We’ll see if Jennings is still embracing his situation four weeks from now when he returns to Lambeau at 1-9.
Now on to my picks, which each week will include a short analysis on the Packers’ and Lions’ games, plus the primetime games on NFL Network, NBC and ESPN. With the Packers on NBC, I’ll include a wild card.
Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions
1 p.m., Sunday, FOX
Tony Romo and Matthew Stafford are not Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, but Jennings should be begging to play for either right now. Most receivers should. Cowboys 28, Lions 27
8:30 p.m., Sunday, NBC
NBC should have slotted Cowboys-Lions on Sunday night for Romo vs. Stafford. Instead, the Peacock will get Seneca Wallace vs. Ponder, Cassel or Freeman in the fourth quarter. Packers 35, Vikings 10
8:25 p.m., Thursday, NFL Network
The Georgia Dome had the visitors’ locker room disinfected by a hazmat crew following the Atlanta Falcons 31-23 victory because a number of Bucs have been infected by a antibiotic-resistant strain of staph called MRSA. That’s how bad the Bucs season has been. Panthers 34, Buccaneer 18
At London, 1 p.m., Sunday, FOX
Look for the English to send over Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Norwich for American exhibitions next year in response to the NFL sending the Vikings, Steelers and now Jaguars to London this year. 49ers 24, Jaguars nil
8:40 p.m., Monday, ESPN
I’m not sure what’s worse — the Vikings’ QB situation or the Rams’, who had to bring in Brady Quinn and Austin Davis to backup Kellen Clemens. Seahawks 30, Rams 6
Here are the rest of my picks with winners in bold:
Browns at Chiefs
Dolphins at Patriots
Bills at Saints
Giants at Eagles
Steelers at Raiders
Jets at Bengals
Falcons at Cardinals
Redskins at Broncos
Matt Wellens is Sports Editor of the Mining Journal. Check out his Armchair QB column every Thursday at MiningJournal.net and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mattwellens. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2013, file photo, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings (15) runs during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J. The Vikings receiver spent seven seasons in Green Bay before signing with the NFC North archrivals in the offseason. He’s about to square off for the first time against his old team when the Packers visit the Vikings on Sunday night. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)