PHOENIX – Greg Jennings got a little help in making his decision to sign with the Minnesota Vikings from his old quarterback – Brett Favre.
The former Green Bay Packers wide receiver, who signed a reported five-year, $47.5 million deal on Friday with the rival Vikings, said he talked with Favre, his quarterback with the Packers in 2006 and 2007 and the Vikings’ QB in 2009 and 2010, a couple of times before deciding to sign.
“We were literally, as I got off the plane and (Vikings offensive coordinator Bill) Musgrave walked up to me, I’m on the phone with Brett.,” Jennings told Vikings radio play-by-play man Paul Allen on Allen’s radio show on KFAN Monday morning. “We talked two or three times throughout this process, a lot via text and then on the phone.
“(Favre) shot me straight. I knew if there was one person that would shoot me straight and tell me exactly what I wanted to hear and the things I possibly didn’t want to hear, it’d be Brett. He did that for me.
“He’s excited, I’m excited, and we’re moving forward.”
Jennings also appeared on The Jim Rome Show later on Monday, and he told both Allen and Rome that he didn’t feel the Packers really wanted him back. He said owner Zygi Wilf, GM Rick Spielman and coach Leslie Frazier made a greater effort than Packers GM Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy did.
“I’ll say this: Mr. (Rick) Spielman and coach Frazier and the Wilf family, they were more in-tune to me playing in this color and with this organization than Green Bay was,” Jennings told Allen. “The decision was made, and I’m excited about it and moreso than me being excited about it, my family is excited about it.”
With Rome, Jennings said: “There was really no real in depth conversation, I mean they (Green Bay) didn’t come after (me) extremely hard. … A fresh new start was kind of what I was looking for and this is what I got.”
Jennings also suggested that his role as the clear-cut No. 1 receiver in Minnesota held significant appeal. He’ll no longer be in the Packers’ share-the-wealth scheme with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jermichael Finley.
“Not one guy over there (Green Bay) could really maximize their potential because of the depth we had,” Jennings told Rome.
Meanwhile, 1500ESPN.com’s Tom Pelissero reported that according to a source with knowledge of the contract, Jennings received a $10 million signing bonus in addition to fully guaranteed base salaries of $2.9 million in 2013 and $4.9 million in 2014 – meaning $17.8 million of the five-year, $45 million deal is fully guaranteed. Jennings' scheduled base salary is $8.9 million in 2015, '16 and '17, with a cap number of $11 million each of those seasons.
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was actually at the NFL Meetings on Monday – he does his offseason training in Arizona – and expressed his excitement about playing with Jennings. He’s so excited that he offered to let Jennings crash at his house in Minneapolis until he finds a home.
“Obviously, he’s a great player. I watched him from the other sideline, and he always did good things against us,” Ponder said at the Arizona Biltmore hotel. “But I’ve been around him a few times in the offseason stuff. Always thought he was a great guy, number one. Good family guy. Good guy to be around and he’s a heck of a player. I’m sure we’ll end up drafting a guy or two, and to have his leadership in that room -- obviously, he’s been successful and knows how to handle being a pro and I think it’ll be good for everyone.”
Ponder also praised Jennings as a route-runner, saying, “When you know where a guy is going to be and how he runs his routes, that’s important. Route running -- a lot of people don’t talk about it. A lot of people talk about speed, but if you run great routes, it’s just as important as speed. So, it’s something that he’ll be able to rub off on the other guys. It’ll be good for us.
“The good thing is I think he can play inside and outside, so we’ll be able to be versatile with him and put him in different places. I think he’s going to be getting the ball a lot.”
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