Vikings-based view on WR Jenkins

March, 29, 2013
3/29/13
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Colleague Field Yates watched tape of receiver Michael Jenkins from the 2012 season after it was learned Thursday that Jenkins was signing with the Patriots, and relayed some of his thoughts on how Jenkins might fit in New England.

Following up on that, we sought out Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities, who shared insight with ESPNBoston.com after having watched Jenkins as closely as any media member over the last two seasons.

Here are some notes from the conversation:

1. The Vikings had quickly signed Jenkins in 2011 after he was released by the Falcons. A big factor was that Jenkins had background with the offensive system being implemented by first-year coordinator Bill Musgrave, who was quarterbacks coach in Atlanta (2006-2010). That was a time when teams didn’t have a full offseason because of the lockout, which increased the value of Jenkins’ connection with Musgrave and some of the concepts he was implementing.

2. Jenkins doesn’t run well and there isn’t much explosion in his routes at this stage of his career. He doesn’t create much separation. Strengths include smarts to line up at various spots and good hands.

3. Jenkins was mostly a big possession receiver who could run different routes but struggled to beat man coverage. He had a 3-yard touchdown catch in the regular-season finale against the Packers to help the Vikings clinch a playoff spot, and also scored on a long reception in the playoff loss to the Packers the following week.

4. He had knee surgery late in the 2011 season and those who watched him in 2012 training camp felt he wasn’t yet back to 100 percent. If receiver Jerome Simpson wasn’t facing an early-season suspension, some believed Jenkins wouldn’t have made the club last season. Jenkins’ base salary was ultimately reduced in 2012 and he stuck on the roster.

5. The Vikings cut him this year because he had a $2.4 million roster bonus due on the fifth day of the 2013 league year.

6. While his size could be a benefit in the red zone, that wasn’t a big part of how he was utilized with the Vikings, who often loaded up with tight ends inside the 20, and of course had receiver Percy Harvin as their main threat.

7. He was viewed as a veteran leader type, which coach Leslie Frazier seemed to value. He was well-liked in the locker room.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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