Chad Greenway is spending his ninth summer in Mankato at Vikings training camp. The two-time Pro Bowl linebacker says he is primed and ready to get his new-look defensive on the field and his team back to the playoffs.
Mount Vernon native Chad Greenway is now entering his ninth season in the NFL, all of which he has been a staple in the Vikings defense. He is coming off his team record sixth season as the team's leader in tackles and his second Pro Bowl. His new coach, Mike Zimmer, has changed the defensive scheme meaning Greenway will make the move to his more natural Middle Linebacker position.
"The off season has been really good. Obviously it has been a big learning curve with a new defense and head coach coming in. A lot of things are new to a lot of us who have been here for many years. We have put a lot of labor into learning it all. It’s like doing mental gymnastics, but it's been really good. My body is feeling good and I'm certainly ready to go for another season," Greenway said.
The 31 year old veteran, although coming off one of his best seasons, knows he can't play forever. When Minnesota selected linebacker Anthony Barr with the ninth pick in this year's draft some thought it was a sign of passing the torch. Greenway viewed as an opportunity to be a leader.
"I don't think it is necessarily passing the torch, but more about helping him along. I think as a veteran looking at a rookie you want a guy that comes in hungry to learn and hungry to help the team. That is what he appears to be, it’s early, but you can tell he is a player," Greenway said.
Greenway's teammates know he is a player, in fact, they have voted him the defensive MVP three times since 2010. Now they are looking to him to lead them through this transition period while fixing the holes on his side of the ball.
"I think we need to be a lot better with our run defense around here. Obviously it is a different scheme, we are all getting used to it, playing with each other in the scheme, and that will all be vital in order for us to have success," Greenway said.