Greenway standing out on a surprising teamThe Minnesota Vikings’ start of the season may be a surprise to some, but the way linebacker Chad Greenway is playing shouldn’t be a shock.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
The Minnesota Vikings’ start of the season may be a surprise to some, but the way linebacker Chad Greenway is playing shouldn’t be a shock.
Greenway, a Mount Vernon native and a Pro-Bowler last year, is tied for the league lead with 61 tackles through six games, helping the Vikings to a second-place spot in the NFC North Division.
“So far, it’s been good,” Greenway said in an interview Tuesday evening with The Daily Republic. “… It’s been another good start to a year, and we’re hoping to build on it.”
The Vikings, 4-2 on the season, have a defense that’s allowed the ninth-fewest points per game in the league (19.5) and eighth-fewest yards per game (313). The defense’s strong play has propelled Minnesota’s strong start, which comes a season after the team won only three games.
It took only to the fourth week of the season for the Vikings to match their previous season’s win total. When the Vikings beat the Detroit Lions on the road, they held the top spot in the conference. The victory was head coach Leslie Frazier’s first-career conference win, something Greenway was happy to be a part of.
On Sunday, the Vikings dropped out of first place in the division with a loss on the road to the Washington Redskins.
Still, with four wins in the first six weeks, the Vikings are one of the league’s impressive storylines.
Before the season, Minnesota was picked by several NFL experts to finish last in the conference. Last season, division rivals Green Bay and Detroit each earned playoff berths, while Chicago made several offseason moves that looked to improve its roster.
Despite Minnesota sitting one-half game out of the top of the NFC North, the seven-year veteran isn’t amazed where his team is.
He said from the start of training camp until as recent as Tuesday’s meetings, the players and coaches in the organization have had the same message of simply finding ways to get wins. He said players aren’t looking to boost stats, but are playing to find ways to win any way possible.
Though he’s not overly concerned with the number of tackles he has, Greenway said he’s played some of his best football in his career early this season.
“These years are important because you have the experience and they give you the advantages,” said Greenway, who finished last season with a career-high 174 tackles. “Really, in my career I’ve tried to take a step forward every year. I’ve tried to get better at something.”
Greenway named the Vikings’ win over San Francisco on Sept. 23 in Minneapolis as an individual highlight to the season. He finished the 24-13 win with a team-high 16 tackles, two sacks and two quarterback hurries. Besides his dominant play on the field, and the Vikings winning as underdogs, it was also a high point for Greenway because his father, Alan, was at the game.
In May, Alan Greenway — who still resides in Mount Vernon — was diagnosed with leukemia. Chad missed some of the team’s organized team activities in the offseason, and the win over the 49ers was the first time Alan Greenway was in attendance for a Vikings game this season.
“He’s doing really well,” Greenway said. “He goes to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, once a month for checkups for the last three to four months.
“Basically what he’s gone through, he’s battling and they really don’t have an answer for the type of fight he’s had. He’s been a miracle to them. He’s still here, and he’s not really supposed to be. He’s fought really hard, he’s at home and he’s doing things that he likes to do. He goes out to the farm and helps out as much as he can. He still has a long road ahead of him, but he’s doing well.”
At noon Sunday, Greenway and the Vikings look for their fifth win of the season. They host the Arizona Cardinals, who are 4-2 and atop the NFC West Division. The game will be televised locally on FOX.
In hopes to keep a strong season going, Greenway is gunning to get his first turnover of the season, whether it is an interception or forced fumble.
“The plays are there,” Greenway said. “I’m making a lot more this year. I’ve been around the football a ton. I just have to keep chipping away and hope that good things happen.”