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Updated: July 26th, 2013 5:37am
Reusse's Reality: Jennings' rant based on jealousy, egomania

Reusse's Reality: Jennings' rant based on jealousy, egomania

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by Patrick Reusse

Those of us who suggested the Vikings would be less of a football team because of the loss of Percy Harvin (and Antoine Winfield) to Seattle for the 2013 season are left on the defensive after Thursday's news from Seahawks' camp.

Harvin showed up with a bad hip. He could wind up undergoing surgery to repair a "small tear'' in the labrum of a hip. The labrum is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the socket of a hip.

The possibility that Harvin could miss a hunk of the schedule to start his first season in Seattle - after missing the final seven games of the 2012 schedule -- will leave Vikings fans cackling openly and the team doing the same privately about having traded him to Seattle.

The Vikings sent away Harvin for a first-round pick (cornerback Xavier Rhodes) and a seventh-rounder (who cares?) in 2013, and a third-rounder in 2014. They also avoided paying him a large contract -- $25.5 million guaranteed in a six-year, $67 million deal.

To replace Harvin as the No. 1 receiver, the Vikings overpaid for free agent Greg Jennings: $17.8 million guaranteed in a five-year, $45 million deal. And, they traded second-, third- and fourth-round choices to New England to draft receiver Cordarelle Patterson with the Patriots' first-rounder at the end of the first round.

So, they saved $7.7 million in guaranteed money, and then gave up three picks in rounds where a team expects to pick up usable talent. They did this to get a veteran to replace Harvin as the No. 1 receiver, and a rookie who will play some at receiver and also replace Harvin as a kick returner.

Right now, GM Rick Spielman looks like a genius, although if Harvin is back for the second half of the season and the Seahawks wind up in the NFC title game or Super Bowl, Seattle would get what it was looking for in the trade.

What has to be surprise to most everyone on the Vikings' side of the river is that Jennings has turned out to be such a jealous fellow. All we heard about when Jennings (30 in September) signed with the Vikings was his class and his leadership.

While he's a ways from the Randy Moss or Terrell Owens category, Jennings has offered the personality seen in so many high-profile receivers: an egomaniac with a loud mouth.

Jennings' shots at Aaron Rodgers, his second quarterback in Green Bay, went from odd to frontal in Dan Wierderer's long piece and interview with Jennings that appeared in Thursday's Star Tribune.

Rodgers' first season was 2008 and Jennings was his main target. He caught 80 passes for 1,292 yards and nine TDs. Jennings was also a frisky 24 at the start of that season.

The more Rodgers played, the more of the field he saw, and the more options he discovered. Jordy Nelson became a wonderful target as a receiver, then Randall Cobb and James Jones.

The Packers won a Super Bowl with a wild-card run after the 2010 season. A defensive decline set in and they were knocked out in the second round after 2011 (0-1) and after last season (1-1).

All this time, Rodgers' reputation was building -- to the point he is now 1B to Tom Brady's 1A in most assessments of the NFL's quarterbacks. Who knew that the praise for Rodgers was chafing at Jennings?

We all know now, as Jennings' shots at Rodgers have escalated from veiled, to petty, to pathetic.

"A lot of times when you have a guy who creates that spotlight for himself and establishes that and takes a lot of that, it becomes so-and-so and the team,'' Jennings told Wiederer. "It should always be the team.''

Interesting twist on that:

The spotlight that Brett Favre created for himself as Green Bay's quarterback was brighter than Rodgers', and yet Jennings ramped up this controversy a while back by comparing Rodgers unfavorably to Favre in an interview with Stephen Smith on ESPN.

"For me, I'm such a team person, I'm going to defer to my teammates,'' Jennings told Wiederer. "I'm going to defer to the team, to the team, to the team, And I think when you reach a point where you're not deferring any longer, it's no longer really about the team.''

That self-aggrandizing quote actually covers up what seems to be the real problem: Rodgers stopped deferring to Jennings as he moved the ball around to various receivers -- even before Jennings missed much of last season with an abdominal injury that required surgery.

And then this from Jennings on Rodgers:

" ...When you hear all positives, all positives, all positives all the time, it's hard for you to sit down when of your teammates say, 'Man, come on, you've got to hold yourself accountable for this.

"It's hard for someone to see that now because all they've heard is I'm doing it the right way, I'm perfect. In actuality, we all have flaws.''

Including Greg Jennings, who has at least two of the Seven Deadly Sins well-covered in the attack on Rodgers: pride (the ego-based kind) and envy (the jealous kind).

Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He co-hosts SportsTalk from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. and hosts The Ride with Reusse from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. He also co-hosts "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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