Greg Jennings' muffed catch on a third-and-five pass to him during the Vikings second drive of overtime last Sunday summed up his first season in Minnesota pretty well I thought.
If Jennings continues this pace of production for the remaining 5 games of the 2013 season, he'll clock in with 54 catches for 658 yards and 3 TDs, which wouldn't be a great deal better than what the Vikes got out of Michael Jenkins last year. This isn't what the team hoped to get from Jennings when they signed him to a five-year deal and gave him $17.8 million guaranteed last March.
Is Jennings going to be the next Bernard Berrian?
I hold out hope that won't be the case. But I think we have to admit that Jennings will only be able to live up to his contract if the Vikings can solve their quarterback problem while he's here. So far this year Vikings QBs have competed roughly 61% of their passes, which is good. But they've also thrown for 2,412 yards and tossed 11 TDs and been intercepted 13 times, which is not so good. A lot of WRs are going to have a hard time thriving with that kind of quarterbacking. Jennings has been no exception.
When the Vikes signed Jennings, both Pacifist Viking and I wrote that the situation in Minnesota (i.e. - he'd be catching passes from Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel instead of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers) might lead to him being a disappointment. That's turned out to be true. It doesn't mean Jennings still isn't a good player capable of being a top NFL WR, but if you're playing with a QB who bails at the first sign of pressure and who struggles completing passes that travel longer than 5 yards past the line of scrimmage, that is going to impact your production. And when it does, it's going to lead to a lot of fans moaning that you suck, that you are overpaid and that the Vikings made a mistake signing you.
Certainly Greg Jennings needs to play better. But let's not pretend the Vikings QB play isn't playing a large role in his struggles. The Vikings made the right move in signing Jennings - they got one of the top 2 free agent WRs available. Now they have to capitalize on that investment by making the right move at the QB position this offseason.
If they don't, I'll likely be writing a similar post about Jennings this time next year.