Jennings leaving Packers to sign with Vikings

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Greg Jennings is no longer a member of the Green Bay Packers.

Jennings won’t be going far, though, staying within the NFC North by signing what ESPN’s Josina Anderson says is a five-year deal for $47.5 million with $18.5 million guaranteed.  

The five-year deal for the 29-year-old wide receiver means that Jennings could be with the Vikings until he’s 34.

Jennings visited Minnesota late this week and spent two days being courted by team officials. It appeared that the market for the two-time Pro Bowl selection wasn’t nearly as abundant as Jennings expected and that his decision came down to the Vikings and Packers.

Ultimately, Jennings opted to join Minnesota.

Late last season, Jennings seemed discontent with his situation in Green Bay.

After returning from injury in Week 13, he wasn’t as prominent in the offense as he had been in recent years. In his first three games back in December (which came against division rivals Minnesota, Detroit and Chicago), Jennings totaled just nine catches for 123 yards and no touchdowns. Coming from a player who had three consecutive seasons with 1,100-plus receiving yards from 2008-2010, his numbers in those three games suggested that Jennings either wasn’t fully healthy or that quarterback Aaron Rodgers had developed more comfort and trust with the rest of the Packers’ wideouts.

When Jennings did put together his best game of the season in Week 17 with eight catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns, his sister Valyncia made more headlines than her brother. It was during that game that she called Rodgers an “idiot” and “the most overrated QB in the league” on her Twitter page.

The day after Green Bay’s divisional-round loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Jennings spent 15 minutes cleaning out everything from his locker before speaking with the media. When he did address reporters, Jennings sounded very pessimistic about being back with the Packers in 2013.

“At the end of the day, you know the Packers are going to do what’s best for the Packers,” Jennings said on Jan. 13. “That’s not going to change whether you’re No. 4 (Brett Favre), No. 80 (Donald Driver), No. 85 (Jennings) or No. 77 (Cullen Jenkins), that’s going to be the case. They’re going to do what’s best for the Packers and the organization.

“As the other half of the businessman sitting down at that table, I have to do what’s best for myself and my family.”

When asked what the most difficult part about leaving the Packers would be, Jennings didn’t sound too heartbroken about the possibility of his seven years in Green Bay coming to an end.

“I don’t know if there is a difficult part,” Jennings said. “I’m excited for the future. Football is going to be football. I’m excited for that.”

Two weeks after cleaning out his locker in January, Jennings listed his Green Bay home for sale.

There was little activity surrounding Jennings in the first 48 hours of free agency. Meanwhile, the wide receiver market started to lose its other top players. Mike Wallace signed a six-year, $60 million deal (with $27 million guaranteed) with the Miami Dolphins, Wes Welker agreed to a two-year, $12 million contract with the Denver Broncos and Danny Amendola signed a five-year, $31 million ($10 million guaranteed) with the New England Patriots.

Jennings, the Packers’ second-round pick in 2006, had a very successful career in Green Bay, but the past two seasons probably cost him money on the free-agent market. The biggest issue for Jennings is that he’s been injury-prone. Late in the 2011 season, he suffered a knee injury that kept him out three games and drastically limited his effectiveness in the Packers’ playoff loss to the New York Giants. During training camp in 2012, Jennings had a severe concussion that sidelined him for more than two weeks. Then, in Week 1 of the regular season, he hobbled off the field with a groin injury. Jennings missed a total of eight games and later required surgery for what was termed as a core muscle injury.

In Jennings’ career in Green Bay, he had 425 catches for 6,537 yards and 53 touchdowns. Jennings’ 2012 season was his worst, though – he finished with just 36 receptions for 366 yards and four touchdowns.

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