Chad Greenway has been playing with a fractured wrist for more than a month. He sprained it one week, fractured it the next and kept on playing. He talked about why is playing through the pain.
Late in Sunday's overtime win over the Chicago Bears
, Chad Greenway
came to the sideline with his right arm dangling, giving the clear impression he had suffered a shoulder or collarbone injury. While he did have a moment where he took a shot to the shoulder, far more painful was his ailing right wrist, which Greenway admitted to Viking Update
has been broken for more than a month with two fractures already having been identified on X-rays.
In clear pain as he came to same to the sideline, the result of the aggravation of his injury wasn't from a Bears player. It was friendly fire from safety Andrew Sendejo
"I kind of dinged my shoulder, but my wrist was the problem there," Greenway said. "I've been playing with a fractured wrist for about a month. I just got lit up right on the spot (of the break). Sendejo, you know how he plays, he cannonballed me right in the spot. I'm just dealing with it and trying to get some wins for this organization."
Greenway has spent the last month-plus practicing in a large, immobile cast on his ailing wrist, but, on game day, he used a smaller, more flexible cast that can allow him to grip better in an effort to make tackles. He hasn't complained about the injury or even been public about it because he feels that, if he can play, he will play injured. At this time of year, all players are dinged up to a certain extent, but his is a little more severe than most.
"I'm just trying to get a little more hand mobility so I can grab like a normally do," Greenway said. "I have a big wrist (brace) that I wear. It's tough. I sprained it against the Giants (Oct. 21) and broke it against the Packers in the first game (after that, Oct. 27). I drove it into the ground and the sprain sort of weakened it. It is what it is."
For a team that has been out of realistic playoff contention for some time, it would have seemed possible – or even logical – to shut Greenway down. At this point, he doesn't know if he will need surgery to repair the damage, but shutting down his season isn't an option.
"This organization has been far too good to the Greenways for me to do that," Greenway said. "As trying as this season has been, I love these guys in here. We've been playing for each other. It hasn't been easy, but we're staying together."
Greenway felt he was seeing some improvement through the injury, but, as will happen, when direct contact is made on the spot of the injury, the pain can be intense. He's been working hard during the week to do exercises with the training staff to increase the range of motion in his injured wrist so he can be a sure tackler and remain on the field.
"It's been difficult with my grip, especially in my right hand," Greenway said. "But I've been able to handle it and it's getting better … it was getting better."
Greenway has shown both personal toughness and organizational loyalty that has him on the field instead of on the sidelines and, while the Vikings aren't going to be playoff bound this season, his toughness isn't going unnoticed by his coaches and teammates.
"It's a stat-driven league, but what comes first is wins and losses," Greenway said. "We're sitting here with this record. Our only thing is to keep fighting. We're looking to get these wins for each other."
Head coach Leslie Frazier said Greenway had a stinger, but he didn't expect it to affect Greenway's playing status next Sunday at Baltimore, although an magnetic resonance test will be performed.
GAME DAY NOTES
Adrian Peterson continued to add to his Hall of Fame résumé Sunday, rushing 35 times for 211 yards. With a 19-yard run on a Vikings touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, Peterson went over the 10,000 career rushing yardage mark. The only players to achieve that milestone quicker were Eric Dickerson (91 games) and Jim Brown (98 games).
Chicago wide receiver Alshon Jeffery made a monster game in defeat, catching 12 passes for 249 yards – the second most receiving yards ever allowed by the Vikings. The record against the Vikings is 289 yards from Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.
There was no shortage of offense Sunday. The Vikings accounted for 496 yards, while Chicago ran up 480 yards of offense.
Christian Ponder took a shot to the head late in the first quarter and was tested for concussion-like symptoms on the sideline. After going to the locker room at halftime, he was ruled out of the game in the second half.
Matt Cassel did an excellent job in relief of Ponder, completing 20 of 33 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown.
Greg Jennings wasn't targeted with a pass in the first half Sunday. With Cassel at the wheel, Jennings was targeted nine times, catching seven passes for 78 yards and a touchdown.
Cordarrelle Patterson set a piece of rookie history with a rushing touchdown, making him the first Vikings rookie to ever have a rushing TD, a receiving TD and a return touchdown in a season. He had hoped to add an Auburn-style missed field goal return for a score when the Bears missed a long field goal at the end of regulation but only returned that one 31 yards.
Chris Cook may find himself in hot water with the coaching staff and the league after being ejected from Sunday's game with 5:15 remaining in the third quarter for touching an official. On consecutive plays, the Bears targeted Cook with Jeffery. On the first play, Cook appeared to have a chance for an interception until Jeffery pulled his arm away as the ball arrived, which Cook argued was offensive pass interference. On the next play, Jeffery muscled the ball away and, in his haste to get to the official, he bumped him and was promptly ejected.
The Vikings have spent much of the season with the worst third-down defense in the NFL, but, for the second straight week, had a stellar day, allowing Chicago to convert just 2 of 11 third-down opportunities.
The Vikings ran 21 more plays (86) than the Bears (65).
Thanks to big plays for touchdowns, Chicago got in the red zone just once. The Vikings got in the red zone five times, but scored just one touchdown.
The Bears had 10 drives of six plays or fewer, while the Vikings had three drives of 12 or more plays, which led to the disparity of offensive snaps.
Audie Cole made his second start and had one of the more important plays of the game. Closing in on Bears QB Josh McCown, he slapped a pass that was caught by offensive lineman Kyle Long. Cole then stripped him of the ball and the Vikings recovered deep in Bears territory.
Erin Henderson was active for Sunday's game, but did not play.
The Vikings had a 90-yard drive in the first half, the longest of the season.
Greenway had an interception in the first quarter that was nullified by an offside penalty on cornerback Robert Blanton, who came running to the line to blitz, but mistimed his rush and allowed the Bears drive to continue in the Vikings red zone.
The first three Vikings drives of the game all ended with sacks of Ponder on third down, two from Julius Pepper – the start of a long and painful day for the Vikings starter.
The paid attendance was 64,134.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.