Greg Jennings made the move from the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback to the Minnesota Vikings and Christian Ponder as his quarterback.
Even with the better contract offer – five years, $45 million – coming from the Vikings, some questioned the wisdom of that move for Jennings because of his changing quarterback situation.
Last year, Rodgers completed 67 percent of his passes for 4,295 yards, 39 touchdowns, eight interceptions and 108 rating. Ponder completed 62 percent of his passes for 2,935 yards, 18 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and an 81.2 rating.
“Every quarterback, you’ve got to give them time. … Brett Favre, receivers around him. Aaron Rodgers, receivers around him. Christian Ponder, receivers around him,” Jennings said, comparing his old and new quarterback situations during an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” Tuesday morning.
“(Christian) has always been in a position where the stress and the pressure has been on him and he really didn’t have the help around him to take that load off, outside of ‘All Day’ (Adrian Peterson).”
The Vikings traded their leading receiver of the past three seasons, Percy Harvin, to the Seattle Seahawks in March, then signed Jennings, re-signed Jerome Simpson and added first-round receiver Cordarrelle Patterson in April’s draft.
Jennings believes the Vikings, who went 10-6 last year and split their regular-season series with the Packers before losing to them in the playoffs with Ponder injured, are hungry and poised for bigger things.
“I expect nothing but greatness. When you see what they were able to do last year with the guys they had on that team, great guys,” Jennings said, appearing on the show with a purple golf shirt. “But it goes beyond that. It goes to the coaching and the guys actually believing in one another and you saw guys that believe in one another.”
Jennings was pressed several times about his change in quarterbacks and even how he ranks Favre and Rodgers. He deftly avoided going into too much detail, but his answers gave a pretty good indication of how he feels.
“I’m a loyal guy when I need to be. Brett, you can’t compare the things that Aaron has done to what Brett has done,” Jennings said.
“You get respect when you give respect.”
Jennings wasn’t asked to expand on that comment, but he acknowledged that Rodgers’ skill set is off the charts.
These days, however, he is promoting the Vikings and standing by Ponder’s potential.
“I was blessed. I was very fortunate, but at the same time you just know when it’s time,” he said. “It was time to move on.”
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.