Thursday, November 21, 2013
Greg Jennings ready for return to Lambeau
By Ben Goessling
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Greg Jennings was limited in practice on Thursday, after sitting out on Wednesday and missing the Minnesota Vikings' game last Sunday with a strained right Achilles tendon. That has given Jennings enough time, he said, to feel fresh for this Sunday's game -- which might be of a little extra importance to the receiver.
"Oh, I'm going," he said. "Unless the Lord does something different, has a different game plan, I will be at Lambeau, dressed and ready to go."
It seems unlikely he'll be greeted with a terribly warm reception in his first trip to Green Bay to face his former team. Not in light of how Packers fans reacted to Brett Favre when he came back as a member of the Minnesota Vikings in 2009, and not after Jennings' critical comments of the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers this summer.
Vikings receiver Greg Jennings, who has battled injuries, has 34 catches for 410 yards and two TDs this season.
Getting booed isn't at the top of Jennings' mind -- "I really don't have any expectations for a reception. That's not why I'm going over there, to get a reception," he said -- but after he caught only one pass for nine yards in his first game against Green Bay, Jennings might be within his right to want a few more receptions of a different kind on Sunday.
"I'm sure he'll be pretty fired-up for this ballgame," coach Leslie Frazier said. "He's excited to play, excited to get on the field after last week."
Jennings missed practice time last week after waking up on Thursday with pain in his Achilles, but Frazier said on Friday he had no concerns about Jennings being ready to go, and the Vikings listed him as probable. Even after talking to Jennings on Saturday night, Frazier still believed Jennings could play, but a workout on Sunday morning in Seattle changed that.
"You prepare all week," Jennings said. "I knew I had something going on. It kind of just jumped on me, and I was expecting for it to just jump off. And then (to) go out there and (I) can't really do what I need to do to be successful and help my team, I wasn't going to put myself in a situation that would worsen my situation. And then it was something new -- I'd never dealt with Achilles before. ... I think we took the proper precautions to wait it out, to see how we felt."
His comments on Thursday were free of any incendiary remarks toward his old team -- he talked about how the Chicago Bears, not the Vikings, were a bigger rival for the Packers, wished Rodgers well in his recovery from a broken collarbone, and praised coach Mike McCarthy's ability to turn things around.
Those remarks figure to do little to ensure a warm welcome back from Packers fans.
"I can't really remember the Favre welcome-back was too cheerful for him," linebacker Clay Matthews said. "Greg did a bunch of great things here, and that will be overshadowed by the fact he's playing for the rival for the time being. But in the long run, much like Favre is still revered in Green Bay, playing for a rival is just an afterthought now. I think everybody here is very thankful for the time and work and all his accomplishments on the field -- including winning a Super Bowl -- but it's kind of on to the next man."