Does something really happen to good people when they cross the St. Croix River into the land of 10,000 lakes? For seven years, Greg Jennings was good people. He was a star on a Super Bowl champion who made huge plays for the Packers on that cold day in Dallas a couple of years back. But with his contract coming due and an injury plagued season that led to his departure from Green Bay for greener pastures and more green with the Minnesota Vikings.....something happened. Off season comments that had more than a tinge of sarcasm, even bite, were made while donning a purple and yellow jersey. Comments directed at Aaron Rodgers, questioning his leadership and how he wouldn't stand up for mistakes made by himself or others. Comments directed at the Packers organization about how he felt brainwashed, that Titletown was the only worthwhile destination in the NFL. The backlash was quick and pointed. Jennings, like Darren Sharper, Ryan Longwell, yes Brett Favre before him, transformed from a fan favorite to the enemy.
In his first season as a member of the Vikings, Jennings has stayed healthy, but he hasn't been a superstar savior for a collection of quarterbacks who have stumbled their way to a 1-5 record. Jennings has 24 receptions for 327 yards and a pair of touchdowns, his biggest, a 70 yard score across the ocean in the Vikes only victory against Pittsburgh at Wembley Stadium in London. He admitted it hasn't been easy trying to develop a connection with three quarterbacks, Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman. In a conference call with a much larger than usual group of reporters in Green Bay this morning, Jennings also addressed his off-season remarks and why he felt it was necessary to end his seven year run in Green Bay, become a free agent and ultimately sign with arguably the chief rival of the team that drafted him and helped turn him into a star.
Jennings said he's sure he'll hear boos when the Vikings make the return trip to Lambeau Field in November, but he's happy the first meeting is at home. He hopes his comments in time will be forgotten and Green Bay fans remember him for the effort he gave them while a Packer, not for what got into him when he ventured west, crossed that border and somehow changed.