Greenway, Vikings eyeing playoffsChad Greenway said there’s nothing worse than playing meaningless football in December.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
Chad Greenway said there’s nothing worse than playing meaningless football in December.
For the past two years, that’s exactly what his Minnesota Vikings have done with losing records as they were out of playoff contention headed into the final month of the season.
This year is different.
Leading the NFL in combined tackles with 140, Greenway — a Mount Vernon native — has played a major role in the Vikings’ 8-6 record. With two weeks left in the regular season, the Vikings are holding the sixth seed in the NFC playoffs.
At noon Sunday, Minnesota travels to Houston to play the Texans, a game that will be televised locally on FOX. If the Vikings win their final two regular-season games, they’re guaranteed a playoff spot coming off a season when the team finished 3-13. It was the franchise’s worst record since 1984.
“It’s so much more fun and enthusiastic around the facility,” Greenway said earlier this week in an interview with The Daily Republic. “The coaches are in better moods and the front office is happy.
“For us, we just want to keep winning and keep ourselves eligible for the playoffs. As it sits, we’re in the playoffs right now. It’s nice to be there and we know we have to finish really strong.”
While Greenway has been a factor in the Vikings’ success on defense, running back Adrian Peterson is the team’s main threat offensively and is chasing league history in the final weeks of the year. At 1,812 rushing yards, Peterson is 293 shy of the NFL’s single-season rushing record held by Eric Dickerson.
Last week, Peterson rushed for 212 yards in a win over the St. Louis Rams. In the final two games of the year, Peterson must average 146.5 yards in games against Houston and Green Bay to top Dickerson’s mark, which was set in 1984.
“He’s doing some amazing things and I’m not going to bet against him,” Greenway said. “He’s definitely, in my book, one of the best to ever carry the football. I think he’s going to get it. I think that last week, you’ll see him hopefully break it in front of our fans, which would be cool.”
Peterson already has a career high for rushing yards in a season. His previous career high was 1,760 yards in 2008.
Meanwhile, Greenway is 14 tackles shy of his career-best mark of 154 he set last year. He also has three quarterback sacks this season and one interception.
In seven years in the league, Greenway has surpassed the 100-tackle mark five times. The only years the 2006 first-round pick didn’t reach the century mark were in his rookie year, a season in which he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the preseason, and in 2009, when he finished with 99 tackles.
“I take the approach, especially when you’re playing against guys who are so good physically and so fast, you can’t always make the perfect tackle,” Greenway said. “It can’t always look good or be a big hit or a knock back for a negative play. Sometimes you just have to drag guys down.”
Greenway said it’s rare for the Vikings’ first-team offense and defense to match up against each other in practice during the regular season, so he doesn’t get to go up against Peterson each day like some might think.
But each year during training camp, Greenway gets the challenge of trying to pull down one of the league’s best runners. It’s something that makes him a better tackler every year.
“When you see a guy that has that kind of speed, it obviously doesn’t hurt us to see that and put yourself in body positions and put yourself in angles where you know you have to tackle someone that’s that good,” Greenway said.