Around the Horns: Jennings' tough debut

September, 11, 2013
9/11/13
9:50
AM ET
Welcome to Around the Horns, our daily look at what's happening on the Vikings beat:

When the Vikings signed Greg Jennings to a five-year, $47.5 million deal in March, they planned for the former Packers receiver to be the focal point of an improved passing game. And in a sense, last Sunday, he had a prominent role; Christian Ponder targeted Jennings on seven of his 28 passes, and threw only to Jerome Simpson more often.

But Ponder connected with Jennings on just three of those passes, missing him with a couple throws. And as Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes, Ponder might have been better off looking Jennings' way on three third downs the Vikings didn't convert in their loss to the Lions.

On two of the three plays Craig details, Jennings probably wasn't the first read (though he might have been the next progression on the pass Ponder threw to Jarius Wright that should have been intercepted). Ponder is often criticized for an inability to work deeper into his progressions, and one thing that might take some developing between the quarterback and receiver is the way Jennings runs routes. He'll frequently add an extra move to his routes to sell a defender, as coach Leslie Frazier discussed this summer, and that will be an adjustment for Ponder (particularly in light of the fact the two didn't get much game action together in the preseason). But for Jennings, the biggest adjustment of all might be the fact he doesn't have Aaron Rodgers or Brett Favre any more.

Here are today's other Vikings stories of note:

Ben Goessling

ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter

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