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Reality check for Jennings as Vikings receiver

The SportsXchange

EDEN PRARIE, Minn. -- For the first time in his eight-year NFL career, wide receiver Greg Jennings won't be catching passes from a quarterback that he'll be telling his grandkids about someday. At least that's how it appears now that Jennings has gone from Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay to the sometimes good-bad-and-ugly roller coaster that is Christian Ponder in Minnesota.

So far, Jennings has been praising Ponder and his potential. Of course, what else is he going to say coming through the door of a new team?

Jennings, however, did give a glimpse inside the process of developing an elite pass-catch combo. Naturally, Jennings and Ponder are still in the toddler stages of their progression.

"It's just about trusting the other guy," he said. "That's the one thing that kind of takes that split second off our timing. Other than that, once we develop that trust and that comfort, the sky's the limit."

--One of the more intriguing story lines at next month's training camp will include a seventh-round draft pick who has some serious fan-favorite potential.

Michael Mauti, the oft-injured middle linebacker from Penn State, isn't expected to compete for the starting position. But he could be a giant surprise, especially for someone who has torn three anterior cruciate ligaments in four years and had two of those knee surgeries in a 14-month span.

Mauti's leadership skills, football instincts and tackling fundamentals are considered elite. He's also a solid 6-foot-2, 240-pounder. But concerns about his knees caused him to drop through the draft until the Vikings snagged him as a long-term project.

The likely best-case scenario has Mauti contributing on special teams in 2013 and competing for a starting job in 2014. He's already making strides, having been cleared medically to participate in this week's minicamp.

"I'm right where I want to be right now," Mauti said. "I wouldn't say ahead of schedule, I wouldn't say behind. The recovery is a very tedious process. You have to grind it out."

The Vikings love Mauti's attitude. The same attitude that pushed him to write letters to all 32 NFL general managers before the draft to express his love for football.

"He seems to be a guy that is pretty driven," coach Leslie Frazier said. "He has a good idea of what he thinks he can accomplish and how he can get it done. (He's) a guy with a single focus, which is not a bad thing at the position we are asking him to play."
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