The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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March 14, 2013

Vikings land QB Cassel as backup

(Continued)

But as the Vikings well know, Jennings has been one of the best in the league since he was drafted in the second round in 2006 out of Western Michigan. He has three years of at least 1,100 yards receiving and two 12-touchdown seasons. In 14 career games against the Vikings, Jennings racked up 964 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Packers won 10 times.

The Vikings sure haven't been shy about signing players from their fiercest intra-division competitor.

They brought in safety Darren Sharper in 2005, kicker Ryan Longwell in 2006 and wide receiver Robert Ferguson in 2007. They've tried to woo others in recent years, too: fullback William Henderson, defensive end Aaron Kampman and wide receiver James Jones.

Then, of course, there was Brett Favre, whose embittered departure from the Packers in 2008 paved the way for him joining the Vikings in 2009 and nearly taking them to the Super Bowl.

More important to the Vikings than nabbing a popular, productive player from the Packers, though, is upgrading their perilously thin group of wide receivers. After trading Percy Harvin, cutting Michael Jenkins and letting Devin Aromashodu become a free agent, the Vikings currently have only three players at the position with any NFL experience: Jerome Simpson, Jarius Wright and Stephen Burton. Wright has played in seven career games. Burton has seven career catches.

Spielman has repeatedly stated the organization's preference to focus on drafting and developing players rather than relying on free agency to fill gaps on the roster, but they'll likely need to add at least one veteran to the group even if they draft a handful of them.

Ponder said in an interview this week he doesn't think it's paramount to add more experience but acknowledged he wouldn't mind throwing to a polished, versatile wide receiver like Jennings.

"He's as great player. He's been doing great things in Green Bay, and he'd bring leadership to that position," Ponder said. "Kind of a dynamic guy you can put in the slot and outside. I've always admired his work in Green Bay, and he seems like a great guy to have on a team."

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