Greenway having a strong season despite missing Pro BowlWhen the NFL Pro Bowl rosters were released several weeks ago, Minnesota Vikings fans were excited to see eight of their own on the NFC roster. Local Viking fans may have noticed one name that was absent from that list of names, however. Mount Vernon native Chad Greenway, a linebacker for the NFC North champions, didn’t make the Pro Bowl roster despite leading the team in tackles and having what was arguably his best year so far with the Vikings.
When the NFL Pro Bowl rosters were released several weeks ago, Minnesota Vikings fans were excited to see eight of their own on the NFC roster.
Local Viking fans may have noticed one name that was absent from that list of names, however.
Mount Vernon native Chad Greenway, a linebacker for the NFC North champions, didn’t make the Pro Bowl roster despite leading the team in tackles and having what was arguably his best year so far with the Vikings.
The Vikings added another name to the Pro Bowl roster Jan. 4, but it still wasn’t Greenway. Rookie kick returner Percy Harvin was added to the Pro Bowl roster by the league in place of the Eagles’ DeSean Jackson, who made the NFC team at two positions.
Greenway may be having the best season of his young career, but according to one Vikings’ beat writer, he’s still not quite up to par with the best in the league.
Dave Campbell, a sports writer for the Associated Press, said not seeing Greenway on the Pro Bowl roster wasn’t all that surprising.
“I wasn’t terribly surprised,” said Campbell, who covers Minnesota’s practices during the week and all of the team’s home games. “He had a good year, but he’s still young.”
Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware, Washington’s Brian Orakpo and Green Bay’s Clay Matthews wil fill the outside linebacker spots for the NFC at this year’s Pro Bowl. San Francisco’s Patrick Willis and New Orleans’
The Saints’ Jonathan Vilma will play the inside/middle linebacker position.
Ware has 57 tackles, 11 sacks and five forced fumbles to his name.
Orakpo boasts 50 tackles and 11 sacks in his rookie season and Willis had 114 tackles on the year and Vilma has 110.
Greenway is right up there with 99 tackles — including 80 solo — but Campbell said it’s not always about the stats.
“A lot of the picks contend toward reputation as much as anything,” he said. “(Greenway) had a season where he could warrant (a spot on the Pro Bowl roster) and no one would have thought twice, but I don’t think it was a blatant ommission. There are so few spots to go around.”
Campbell also suggested that the strength of the Vikings’ linebacker committee as a whole may have kept Greenway off the roster. Fellow South Dakota native Ben Leber has 46 tackles to go with 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble and EJ Henderson had 83 tackles and two sacks in just 12 games played.
Greenway has six passes defended, one forced fumble and three interceptions to go with his team-high 99 tackles in Minnesota’s 16 games played thus far.
“(Minnesota) has a pretty solid linebacking crew,” Campbell said. “(Greenway’s) play doesn’t necessarily stand out from Ben Leber or EJ Henderson. I think the three of them work well as a group.”
Despite not being named to the Pro Bowl roster, Greenway still has at least one high-profile admirer. Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long named Greenway as No. 1 on his list of most underrated gems in the NFL in late December.
Campbell said Greenway is definitely headed in the right direction, and that his athleticism should land him a spot on the Pro Bowl roster at some point in coming years.
“He’s really athletic for a linebacker,” Campbell said. “I think he’s definitely headed in the right direction. I’d be surprised if he finished his career without making a Pro Bowl.”
Despite not making the Pro Bowl this season, it seems that Packer fans may regret not seeing Greenway in their green and gold.
“The Packers drafted AJ Hawk in 2006 ... and I’ve heard Packer fans lament they should have traded down and taken Greenway, because he’s just as productive as Hawk has been,” Campbell said. “Hawk’s been all right, but not up to expectations like (Greenway).”