MINNEAPOLIS — Greg Jennings has agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings, becoming the latest Green Bay Packer to head across the border and join their bitter NFC North rivals.
Jennings made his decision on Friday, giving the Vikings the No. 1 receiver they so desperately needed after trading Percy Harvin to Seattle.
ESPN first reported the five-year deal. Whenever the Vikings have really needed to fill a big hole, they've gone to Green Bay to do it more often than not.
Jennings joins safety Darren Sharper, kicker Ryan Longwell and, of course, quarterback Brett Favre as high-profile Packers to defect to Minnesota.
Like all the rest of them, Jennings will be looking to prove that his best days are not behind him.
The 29-year-old Jennings played in only eight games for the Packers in 2012, plus two in the playoffs, because of a torn lower abdominal muscle and finished with a career-low 366 yards receiving with an average of 10.2 yards per catch, also his worst NFL total. In 2011, he missed three games with a sprained left knee.
The Vikings are betting that he's going to return to the durable player that played in all 16 games from 2008-10, when he became one of the productive and reliable receivers in the league.
Jennings arrived in the Twin Cities on Thursday night and joined Vikings brass and star defensive end Jared Allen for dinner at a downtown Minneapolis steakhouse.
He spent all day on Friday at the team's headquarters in Eden Prairie while he mulled whether to join the Vikings or head back to Green Bay, where the Packers were believed to have wanted him back.
Instead of catching passes from the elite Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, Jennings will be charged with helping third-year Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder take the next step in his development.
Even with the dynamic Harvin in the mix, Ponder hasn't had a true game-breaker on the perimeter in his first two seasons in the league. It's been one of the reasons coach Leslie Frazier and GM Rick Spielman have been so patient and supportive through Ponder's ups and downs. They believed he was missing that threat on the outside to make his life easier.
The two-time Pro Bowler will join a non-descript receiving group that includes veteran Jerome Simpson, who is coming off an injury-plagued 2012 season, and youngsters Stephen Burton and Jarius Wright.
The Vikings no doubt will look to add more in the draft coming up next month as well, but having Jennings in the fold gives the group instant credibility and an accomplished veteran that can serve as a mentor to the younger players in the group.
The Arizona Cardinals have released Kevin Kolb, ending the quarterback's two injury-filled seasons with the team.
The team's move on Friday came just ahead of the deadline for paying Kolb a $2 million roster bonus. The team paid Kolb some $20 million over two seasons after acquiring him in a trade that sent a second-round draft pick and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The move reportedly saved $7 million in salary cap space. Meanwhile, the Cardinals were spending the money left and right, agreeing to terms Friday on one-year contracts with former San Diego and ex-University of Arizona cornerback Antoine Cason and ex-Oakland defensive end Matt Shaughnessy. Arizona has made eight free agent acquisitions since Wednesday, a sign of the shake-up the franchise is undergoing under new management and a new coaching staff.
Kolb was plagued by injuries and inconsistent play in his two seasons in Arizona.
He was due to make $9 million this coming season. Earlier this week, Arizona signed free agent quarterback Drew Stanton. Stanton was the backup last season at Indianapolis, where new coach Bruce Arians was interim head coach.
At his news conference announcing the firing of coach Ken Whisenhunt, Cardinals President Michael Bidwill said "I'm not ready to give up on Kevin Kolb yet," but the team wound up doing just that after bringing in Arians and elevating Steve Keim to the position of general manager.
Kolb appeared in 15 games in two seasons with Arizona, 14 as a starter.
Last season, he lost the starting job to John Skelton but came on in the opener after Skelton was hurt to direct the winning touchdown drive against Seattle. Arizona went on to a 4-0 start with Kolb at quarterback, but in Week 6 he tore cartilage from his ribs on a broken play and never played again. The Cardinals, meanwhile, lost 11 of their last 12 to finish 5-11, costing Whisenhunt his job and bringing in Arians to try to clean up the mess.
The San Diego Chargers made deals with two running backs Friday, agreeing to a two-year contract with former New England Patriots Danny Woodhead and a one-year deal to bring back Ronnie Brown.
Woodhead is expected to complement Ryan Mathews, who's been plagued with injuries and a fumbling problem.
Woodhead was New England's second-leading rusher with 301 yards and four touchdowns on 76 carries while catching 40 passes for 446 yards and three scores.
He spent two seasons with the New York Jets and three with the Patriots. Brown played in 14 games for the Bolts last season, starting one. He rushed for 220 yards on 46 carries and tied for second on the team with 49 receptions for 371 yards.