Jun 17, 2014; Eden Prairie, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings (15) catches a pass as cornerback Antone Exum (32) defends him at practice at Winter Park. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Top 25 Vikings of 2014: No. 12 WR Greg Jennings

The Top 25 countdown rolls on with the man at #12…

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WR Greg Jennings

Greg Jennings was an invisible man for much of his first season in Minnesota. An invisible man on the field, that is. Off the field he was very visible: doing charity work, mentoring young players in practice, occasionally getting into sparring matches through the media with his former Packers teammates.

Jennings definitely made his presence felt, sometimes in good ways, sometimes in bad ways. The on-field impact would come eventually, but only after a change at quarterback.

For whatever reason, Jennings just never developed much rapport with Christian Ponder. It was a different story with Matt Cassel. The veterans hooked up early and often, giving fans an all-too-brief glimpse of what the Vikings passing game could do when operated by competent players.

It wasn’t enough to save the season. Wasn’t enough to save Leslie Frazier and Bill Musgrave. Wasn’t enough to save Jennings from being perceived as a poor free agent value. What it did do was give fans something to hold on to going into 2014.

Cassel and Jennings will start the season, most likely, as the Vikings’ #1 QB and #1 WR. Bill Musgrave is no longer designing the scheme; that job now belongs to Norv Turner, who has a pretty decent track record when it comes to passing offense.

Will the Cassel-to-Jennings combo provide the same thrills throughout 2014 that it was able to give on a limited basis in 2013? We’ll see. Can Jennings build on his glimmers of promise in 2013 and put together a season worthy of his contract?

It’s unlikely that Jennings will ever live up to his contract on the field, but if you add up his entire contribution, working with young players, being visible in the community, helping create a solid professional culture in Minnesota, it’s easier to live with the decision to give him all that money.

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