The Vikings need to get better at wide receiver. Is there any doubt about that? But how aggressive should the Vikes be in pursuing solutions at the position? I’ve already outlined many of their options. They could go high draft pick, they could go big-time free agent, they could go combination of draft and middle-of-the-road free agent.
If the Vikings do go big-time free agent, the most likely target has to be Greg Jennings. He seems more attractive than any of the other guys out there, including Mike Wallace and Dwayne Bowe. And after an injury-riddled season Jennings might not be as pricey as some people expect. But is this an option Rick Spielman would actually pursue? At least one NFL insider, Ian Rapoport, thinks it could happen.
Rap Sheet told NFL Total Access that Jennings is all-but-gone from Green Bay. This is not news. We’ve assumed for months that the Packers would let Jennings walk. Rapoport then mentioned some possible landing spots for the receiver. The Vikings came up right away, along with Miami. The Dolphins might have a leg up given Jennings’ connection to their head coach Joe Philbin. But Jennings might also be intrigued by the Vikes who get to play his old team twice a year and are playoff contenders coming off a 10-6 season.
So how realistic is this possibility, given the Vikings’ recent history of eschewing higher-priced free agents in favor of more cap-friendly options? I think it’s very realistic. I think the Vikings might be willing to open up the wallets a little for Jennings. There’s no question they need to get Christian Ponder more help. Even if they keep Percy Harvin, their receiver corps is underwhelming to say the least. How does a Jennings-Harvin-Rudolph combo sound to Viking fans?
That would be a nice trifecta of top weapons. In fact that might arguably be the best top 3 in the entire league. Making that happen will be easier said than done however. First, you have to smooth things out with Percy Harvin. Rick Spielman is saying all the right things about Harvin, calling him a great guy etc., but the truth is there has been tension between Harvin and the coaching staff. There is still a very real possibility that Harvin could be traded. Spielman’s happy talk about Harvin means precisely nothing. Is he going to come out and slam Harvin while trying to trade him? Only an idiot would do that.
Even if the Harvin thing gets worked out, you still don’t know about Jennings’ price tag. How high are the Vikings willing to go? If two or three teams get in on Jennings, his numbers could go up fast. I know his stats were off in 2012 and he was hurt a lot but that won’t necessarily drive his price way down. He’s still potentially a top 10 receiver in this league. There will be multiple teams interested in his services.
Jennings might not end up commanding the same numbers as Mike Wallace and Dwayne Bowe, but he will still get good money. The Vikes will still have to open up the wallets if they want to get him. Can they afford to pay both Percy Harvin and Greg Jennings?
And there’s the elephant in the room. Christian Ponder. He played okay the last four games of 2012 but there’s still a perception around the league that he’s a mediocre QB at best. Could Ponder’s presence actually chase away a free agent of Jennings’ caliber? Why would Jennings choose the Ponder-led Vikings over the Ryan Tannehill-led Dolphins if the money is equal?
Jennings is certainly in play for the Vikings. They will have to pay him well if they want him. And they will have to assure him that Christian Ponder can be the man. It’s not a slam dunk, but it’s an option. A realistic option. Fans will certainly be happy to have him. Anything would be an improvement over the stuff we had last year. Jennings would potentially be a massive upgrade. And if you can team him with Harvin for the next five years? As Paul Allen might say, “Let’s play!”