Welcome to Around the Horns, our daily look at what's happening on the Vikings beat:
There was a stark difference in the comments coming out of the Minnesota Vikings' and Green Bay Packers' camps on Wednesday, as the teams prepare to face each other on Sunday night. While the Vikings were changing quarterbacks for the third time in three weeks, planning to hand the reins back to Christian Ponder while Josh Freeman works his way back from concussion symptoms, the Packers were tossing verbal bouquets to quarterback Aaron Rodgers for continuing to win without many of his top targets.
That's the big reason why the Packers get the last laugh over receiver Greg Jennings in the volley of veiled shots that went on between the Vikings player and his former team this summer, writes Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. While the Vikings "added an accomplished receiver and got worse" after making the playoffs last year, the Packers "lost an accomplished receiver and seem not to have noticed," Souhan says.
Souhan mentions Brett Favre, who played with both Jennings and Rodgers and is often pertinent to these border-hopping discussions, and says in the decisions to let both Favre and Jennings go, the Packers were right. Theirs is an organization that typically takes the cautious route with players, preferring to let them go too early instead of paying too much to retain them, and they've come out looking good on many of those decisions because of Rodgers. The contrast between these two teams at the moment is wrapped up mostly in what they have at quarterback, and it speaks to why the Vikings are trying so hard to find their quarterback of the future. For as much as they've tried to emulate the Packers' draft-and-develop approach, mostly eschewing free agency in favor of raising young players, little of that matters until they can get their quarterback situation right. If the Packers do indeed get the last laugh on Jennings, it's because they hold a trump card with Rodgers.
Here are today's other Vikings stories of note:
We looked at Christian Ponder's chance to return to the starting job, and how the Vikings putting him through the ringer in the last month might be better than coddling him.
ESPN.com Packers reporter Rob Demovsky wrote about Jennings, with comments he made to reporters in Minnesota and to those in Green Bay.
Monday's 23-7 loss to the previously winless New York Giants was the Vikings' second-most embarrassing loss since 2000, according to Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com.
Retired quarterback Jeff Garcia tells USA Today he would be open to returning to the NFL and signing with the Vikings to help mentor Freeman. No, really. At age 43.