Greenway discusses pending free agency

Chad Greenway is one of nine Vikings defenders that could become an unrestricted free agent, but he's likely the top priority. He pondered the possibilities of him making it to free agency and the additional hurdles facing free agents this year.

Leslie Frazier has maintained through much of the last month that Chad Greenway has been one of the Vikings most consistent players on defense and that he was at the top of the list of deserving Pro Bowl candidates that didn't make the original roster.

Greenway is also at the top of the list for the Vikings in free agency, but he hasn't been in discussions with the team about negotiating a new contract and hasn't been seeking any indicators from the team.

"I haven't looked for a feeling. I just know that this year is a big year for me," he said. "… It's been stated before I like it here, but I can't control anything."

He could control how he played in 2010, and he ended up being a Pro Bowl alternate as he continues to progress with each year in the Vikings' Cover-2 defensive scheme.

"I think that the experience is probably as big as anything, his familiarity with the system," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said in December. "He knows where everybody has to be. He's such a hard worker and a guy who is so passionate about football. He loves the game. Chad is one of those guys you wouldn't mind having 53 of. He loves the game and he works extremely hard and on top of that he's talented. You combine that, you've got a pretty good football player and he's having a great year."

Greenway was the Vikings' leading tackler with 149 and paced the team with 10 tackles for a loss. He also had a sack, a quarterback hurry, a forced fumble and pass defensed.

His continued progression could make him one of the most attractive free-agent linebackers on the market, but he said there have been no talks with the Vikings to this point. With no collective bargaining agreement in place, and more players than usual who could be unrestricted free agents this year, not much is normal about the way free agency could take place.

"I don't really know what's going to happen. Obviously the landscape is a little bit different than every other year that we're used to," Greenway said. "But the people that are going to handle that will handle that when it's time and ready, when both sides are ready. Hopefully it's all positive."

Greenway is one of nine Vikings on defense that has four or more years of experience with an expiring contract.

The biggest question is what the salary cap will be, if there is one, and when free agency will start. It is scheduled to start on March 4, but free agency won't start until after a new CBA is reached.

"I have a family and I have kids and a wife that wants to know where she's going to live next year and that's all part of it too. For me, of course you're anxious because you want to know what's going to happen, but at the same time it's so early, postseason right now, that you're just trying to gather your thoughts and let it all sink in that the season's over," he said. "The anxiety I'm sure will heighten as things go here, but what can you do? You can't do too much about it. Just going to stay patient."

Greenway said he's not too concerned about the financial aspect of things. Those things will sort themselves out over the offseason, and he's got a solid background in Midwest home economics.

"I'm a farmer. We're frugal. I can go for a long time," Greenway said, referring to his upbringing on his parents' South Dakota farm. "I'll go back there if I have to, right? I've got a long-term option."

The labor unrest has thrown a new wrench into free agency this year, so Greenway won't be surprised by anything that might happen. As he stood in front of his locker on Monday, he couldn't help but wonder what lies ahead.

"I think the reality obviously has set in that obviously this could the last time," he said, "but I'm hoping that's not the case."

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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