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Season Review, WR's: Jennings Steady, Targets Emerge

View the top 30 images of Vikings wide receivers from the 2014 season.

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Greg Jennings led the Vikings in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches for the second straight season and provided leadership to a young and developing group of receivers in their first year in Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner's system. 

Jennings finished with 59 receptions, including a team-high 19 on third downs, for 742 yards and six TD catches in 2014. The production on third down illustrates the reliability factor that formed between he and rookie Teddy Bridgewater as the season developed. Jennings made the routine plays consistently and made several that appeared to be impossible look easy. He displayed fancy footwork along the Jets sideline and made another great adjustment near the out-of-bounds line at Detroit, before adding a one-handed catch against Chicago to help the Vikings defeat the Bears.

Bridgewater also showed that he doesn't mind spread the ball around to multiple receivers, tight ends and running backs, including Matt Asiata, who had 44 catches for 312 yards and one receiving TD.

Jarius Wright provided several dazzling moments for the Vikings, including an 87-yard scoring catch-and-run on a receiver screen to beat the Jets in overtime. Wright finished his third pro season with 42 catches for 588 yards and two TDs, increasing his receptions and yards each year.

Cordarrelle Patterson had 33 catches for 384 yards and a touchdown, and Charles Johnson added 31 receptions for 475 yards and two scores after being signed off Cleveland's practice squad in September.

Adam Thielen stood out on special teams after earning a roster spot out of camp and added plays on offense as the season progressed. He caught eight passes for 137 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown in the season finale.

The Vikings aerial attack finished 27th in the NFL with an average of 202.8 net yards per game, but showed dramatic improvements in completion percentage, passer rating, receiving TDs and resulting increases in points per game in the final six weeks of the season. Completion percentage improved from 58.3 percent in Minnesota's first 10 games to 68.9 percent in its final six, passer rating improved from 68.7 to 98.1, and the Vikings had 10 of their 17 passing TDs in the final six games.

"I thought we made strides to getting better each and every week," Johnson said the day after the regular season ended. "I wish we would have won some of those close games and things would have been different at this moment, but I think we're only going to get better, and I'm looking forward to the future and how bright it looks.

"Coach Norv said the first year in the offense is pretty good, but the second year is really when it gets better because everybody is used to it and familiar and able to play a little bit faster than they did the first year in the system," Johnson said. "For me, I'm still learning things, and I'll continue to learn all the positions so I'm able to play everything."

Although Patterson's production numbers dropped from his rookie season (45 catches, 469 yards, four receiving TDs), he still showed elements of explosiveness.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer has repeatedly supported Patterson and thinks a second consecutive year in the system will be beneficial. Zimmer said during his end-of-season press conference that he's arranged for Patterson to receive some mentorship this offseason when rules prevent the Vikings coaches from working with players.

The coach declined to say who, but said it's, "Somebody that I trust, somebody that I think would be a great influence for him and I'm not going to talk about who it is. That's part of the thing that I said about I have a plan for him, but we're not allowed to coach him, that's partly why it's up to him. I think this would be good for him and hopefully he will follow through and get to where he needs to get to."

The chart below shows receiving stats for the Vikings in 2014:

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