Not just another game for Jennings

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
12:11
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier would like to tell Greg Jennings that Sunday night’s meeting with the receiver’s old team, the Green Bay Packers, is just another game.

But even Frazier knows that would ring hallow.

It’s not quite Brett Favre against the Packers circa 2009, but there’s likely to be a dose of tension on Sunday at Mall of America Field, especially after Jennings made critical comments of Aaron Rodgers over the summer when he questioned the Packers quarterback’s leadership style.

[+] EnlargeGreg Jennings
Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY SportsGreg Jennings will be facing the Packers for the first time since leaving Green Bay as a free agent.
“It’s hard to tell him not to look at it as just another game on the schedule,” Frazier said on a conference call with reporters at Lambeau Field on Wednesday. “He has a lot of fond memories from his time there in Green Bay, so many friends on that football team and in the community as well. But just to concentrate on trying to help us to get a win. If he can do that and just try to focus on that, that would be my advice to him.”

Jennings, who spent the first seven seasons of his career in Green Bay, signed a five-year, $45 million contract with the Vikings in March. Through six games, he has played with three different starting quarterbacks -- Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and now Josh Freeman (who will make his second start for the Vikings on Sunday) -- and the Vikings have just one win.

When asked whether Jennings has been frustrated because of the quarterback carousel, Frazier said: “I’d imagine it would be difficult for any receiver. You want to know who your quarterback is so you can get in a rhythm and get comfortable week in and week out. We have had some fluctuation there for sure, starting with the injury with Christian. But he’s a pro. He’s one of those guys who’s overcome a lot in his career and his life, and he’s been terrific throughout this entire season.”

Jennings has just 24 receptions (which ranks tied for 68th in the NFL) for 327 yards and two touchdowns, and the Vikings rank 24th in the NFL in passing yards per game.

Surely, the Vikings were hoping for Jennings to make a greater impact.

“He has been terrific, man, as a leader and what he does on the field,” Frazier said. “But the thing I’ve appreciated so much -- you know it’s been a tough start for our season -- is just how great he’s been in the locker room, the way he’s been at practice. He’s helped me a lot as far as helping our team to stay focused on trying to get things turned around. I knew he was a great player, seeing him every year twice a year, I knew all that, but just to see how he’s handled our team in the locker room and on the field and his work ethic, just so happy he’s on our football team.”

We’ll hear from Jennings later on Wednesday. He is scheduled to speak with reporters via conference call at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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