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Ex-Packers RB Aaron Jones on signing with rival Vikings: 'I just wanted to go where I felt wanted'

Aaron Jones' departure from Green Bay after seven seasons felt abrupt when it was reported on Monday. His early Tuesday agreement to join the rival Minnesota Vikings was even more jarring.

But to the 29-year-old running back, who was introduced alongside Sam Darnold and other newly inked Vikings on Thursday, the intradivision move was simply business.

"It's not strange at all. It's football," Jones said at his first Minnesota presser. "I played for many different teams growing up, middle school, high school. You change teams. You change teammates. That's part of the game."

Jones continued, "It's a part of the business. You know what you signed up for. My agent had called me before all of that happened, told me it was a possibility, so my mind was already prepared, and I just wanted to go where I felt wanted. That's here, and I'm excited to be here."

The Pro Bowl tailback was released Monday after the Packers agreed to terms with former Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs. The 2022 rushing champion, three years Jones' junior, signed for $12 million per year and is set to earn $14.8 million this season. Jones, slated to carry a $17.6 million cap hit in 2024, declined a pay cut, and was instead cut for good.

In Minnesota, he is joining the enemy. However, Jones says he didn't approach his short foray into free agency with any vindictiveness toward Green Bay.

"Just because they didn't re-sign me, it's not fuel to the fire. My fire's already been lit, it's gonna stay lit," Jones explained. "I'm on a mission to be the best running back in the NFL, and I'm glad I get to prove that here in Minnesota with a great organization."

Jones inked a $7 million contract to play one season with the Vikings, guaranteeing him two opportunities to play his former team, including one at Lambeau Field. The running back downplayed the drama of a possible revenge game

"It's gonna be fun. It's gonna be a lot of fun. Just ball, you know what it is?" Jones said. "I've played in hostile situations, hostile areas, whatever, but to me, at the end of that day, it's just gonna be ball. I'm going back to where I used to play at. It's ball. Just go out there and make a statement."

In his final campaign with the Packers, Jones had a subpar regular season, missing six games due to injury while totaling just 889 yards from scrimmage and three scores after four straight 1,000-yard years. The running back turned it on in the playoffs, racking up 226 rushing yards and three touchdowns, leaving Green Bay with flashes of a younger Jones.

After the whiplash of his brilliant postseason run following by an unceremonious release, that Jones is on to Minnesota.

"Honestly, I don't even know who's on their roster," Jones said of the Packers. "After I got released, I've turned straight to the Vikings, and this is my focus. I'm not worried about the Packers. I'm a Minnesota Viking."

That was made ever more clear with his closing statement: a loud, thundering "Skol!"

A week ago, the thought of Jones exclaiming the Vikings' war cry was unthinkable. Now it's a shocking reality.

Well, to everyone except him.

"I'm never surprised by what goes on in the league," Jones mused Thursday. "The longer you stay, the crazier stuff you see."

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