EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings are trying to zero in on a solution to their lack of established wide receivers and the search keeps them coming back to a familiar face.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday and FOX Sports later confirmed that Green Bay Packers receiver Greg Jennings is in Minnesota today to meet with the Vikings. Jennings, 29, is the biggest-name receiver still available in free agency, and rumors have persisted since signings started Tuesday that Minnesota and Jennings could be a possible match.
But reports have stated that Jennings is looking to cash in with a big contract, similar to what Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Mike Wallace landed with the Miami Dolphins, a reported five-year, $60 million deal with $30 million guaranteed. The Vikings’ interest so far has been lukewarm with Jennings reportedly looking to make at least $10 million per year.
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Thursday’s visit could indicate that Jennings price has dropped enough for Minnesota. On Wednesday, receivers Wes Welker and Danny Amendola each reportedly agreed to deals with new teams that averaged $6 million and $6.1 million, respectively.
Or the Vikings might have realized what they have left at the wide receiver position after trading Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday. Harvin later signed a new contract with Seattle that made him the fourth-highest-paid receiver in the NFL with an average annual salary of $11.16 million (six years, $67 million with $25.5 million guaranteed).
Without Harvin, Minnesota was left with Jerome Simpson, who re-signed with the team Wednesday, Jarius Wright, Stephen Burton, Greg Childs and Chris Summers at the position. Simpson struggled through an injury and suspension last year, finishing with just 26 catches for 274 yards. Wright flashed some of his potential after being a fourth-round draft pick. He was a weekly inactive the first nine games while Harvin was healthy but got his chance to play after Harvin suffered an ankle injury and had 22 catches for 310 yards and two touchdowns.
Burton has just seven catches in his two NFL seasons. Childs is still recovering from torn patellar tendons in both of his knees, and Summers spent the year on the practice squad.
Hoping for further growth from quarterback Christian Ponder, the Vikings might need another established receiver and Jennings would continue the Green Bay-to-Minnesota pipeline that has included quarterback Brett Favre, kicker Ryan Longwell, safety Darren Sharper and others in recent years.
Because of injuries, Jennings played a career-low eight games for the Packers last year and finished with only 36 catches for 366 yards and four touchdowns. Jennings previously had five straight seasons with at least 50 catches and 900 yards and four straight seasons with at least nine touchdowns.