Chad Greenway and the Minnesota Vikings will continue their 9-year relationship in 2015, as the former Iowa Hawkeye restructured his contract to remain with the team next season. Whether you support the move or regret the decision, Greenway will play some role on Mike Zimmer’s defense when September comes around.
Last year, Greenway battled through injuries, finishing a disappointing 12-game season with a career-low 93 tackles and 1 sack. He disappeared in the run game and consistently missed assignments in coverage (remember the Buffalo game, anyone?) Still, Greenway has been a staple in Minnesota, leading the team in tackles from 2008 to 2013 and missing just 4 games due to injury throughout his lengthy career.
In a Monday interview with our favorite team reporter (love you, Wobby), Greenway expressed his gratitude in returning to the Vikings:
“My number one goal is really being able to finish my career a Minnesota Viking and remain loyal to the place that’s been loyal to me […] It’s been an honor, and I definitely want to go out on top, being a Minnesota Viking and winning a lot of football games this year. We do have a young crew, a young linebacking crew with a lot of talent and need some direction, and I’m definitely happy to help with that.”
Greenway recognizes that his role will diminish next season, but I’d be surprised if he doesn’t take the field as the team’s starting weak side linebacker in Week 1. Right now, the Vikings’ options are limited behind Greenway — Gerald Hodges showed flashes of his ability late last year, and Audie Cole has always delivered in limited spot duty. Still, both players are relatively unproven commodities.
With Jasper Brinkley departing in free agency, Mike Zimmer may be forced to hand the reigns to Cole in 2015, who would benefit from the on-field presence of a player like Greenway. If Greenway does struggle early on, Hodges (or one of the Vikings’ 2015 draft picks) could take his place, giving Greenway the role of a pseudo-coach during games.
At 32 years-old, Greenway’s best days are behind him. Though he’s put up impressive career statistics, his play has declined enough to warrant a change at the position. The problem is, Mike Zimmer may not have the choice given his current options on the roster.
Fans, where do you think Chad Greenway will end up in 2015? Let us know in the poll below!