Cassel has helped Jennings, Vikings find rhythm

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm •  Published: December 18, 2013

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Greg Jennings wanted to make sure he knew what he was getting into before he joined the Minnesota Vikings, so he sat down and studied film of Christian Ponder.

Jennings liked the trailer enough to sign up for the entire movie. The ending of this season was spoiled a long time ago, though. Critics have already begun to look ahead to the sequel. Maybe starring Matt Cassel?

"I would love to see Matt back. He's a great guy. He's a great leader," Jennings said.

Jennings doesn't have to rave about Cassel. He can just point to his production.

"I respect how Greg works. I like his football mind, and we have a lot in common in terms of where we are in life. So there's a combination of things why we get along so well," Cassel said.

Jennings has played in 13 games in his first season with the Vikings. He's been targeted 94 times and has caught 59 passes for 733 yards and four touchdowns, and without Cassel throwing him the ball he'd be barely registering in the box scores.

Cassel has started four games: Sept. 29 against Pittsburgh, Oct. 13 against Carolina, Dec. 8 at Baltimore and last Sunday against Philadelphia. He took over late in the second quarter on Dec. 1 against Chicago. Over those nine halves, Jennings has been targeted 44 times. He has 31 catches for 418 yards and all four of scores this year.

In the remaining 17 halves he's been on the field, Jennings has been targeted 50 times. He has 28 catches for 315 yards and no touchdowns.

"Some quarterbacks see things differently," Jennings said. "I've never played the positions so I can't say what one quarterback sees vs. what another quarterback sees. All I know is what I do never changes.'"

Cassel and Jennings were the two most important free agents the Vikings signed this year. They immediately struck a friendship and developed a mutual sense of trust.

"We were kind of on the same level when it comes to what we see and what we're expecting the defense to do. ... That's why you see us rhythm up," Jennings said.

Now that the Vikings have decided neither Ponder nor Josh Freeman is who they want to run their offense for the years to come, Cassel could be back as the starter for 2014 while general manager Rick Spielman pores over the prospects in the draft for the next quarterback of the future.

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