Edwards appreciates the veteran mix
The Minnesota Vikings have been a team that seemed to focus on getting younger over the past couple seasons. It was not often that they would keep a player past the age of 30 or sign a free agent that is towards the end of his career. Through all that there were some key veterans that they kept, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Chad Greenway, who is now entering his 10th season, and Brian Robison, who is entering his ninth season, are two of the primary defensive leaders the Vikings have chose to keep around. Not only does the team love the way these players play and prepare for every game, but also the way they carry themselves off the field.
Defensive coordinator George Edwards is entering into his second season with both of these players and he has nothing but respect for the way they go about their business.
“I think they’re a part of the foundation of what we’re looking for and the type of caliber of players we’re looking for, not just on the field but off the field,” he said. “Those guys are true professionals and they are going to do whatever you ask them to do and they’re going to come to work every day and pay attention in meetings and transfer from meetings onto the field. Then when you’re off the field the preparation they do to get ready, so it helps us in a big way.”
This offseason the Vikings brought in another veteran presence in Terence Newman. He is a player that head coach Mike Zimmer has worked with in Dallas and Cincinnati and always has good things to say about him.
The coaching staff appears to view Newman the same way as they do Greenway and Robison, someone who is great on the field as a player but also off the field, and someone who will represent the organization well.
“He’s a true pro. He’s going to come in and you know what you are getting everyday,” Edwards said when asked about Newman. “Consistency is a big deal for us, especially on defense. Knowing what you are going to get every day, play in and play out. Recognition, communication, all those things, and he comes in familiar with the system and understands what we are trying to get accomplished. (He) can only help his ability to go out and cover, so from that aspect I think he has a lot to add to that group.”
By adding Newman to the roster the Vikings now have a key veteran presence on every level of their defense. Newman plays in the secondary, Greenway with the linebackers and Robison on the defensive line. This means that all the young players can see how these players go about their business and can learn how to play the game the proper way, or at least that is what the coaching staff is hoping will happen.
An interesting dynamic to keep an eye on is how these veterans deal with the rookies who will be pushing them for playing time. Robison is competing against Scott Crichton, Greenway is competing against Eric Kendricks for the nickel role and Newman is going against Trae Waynes.
It would be easy for anyone of these players to go about their own business and just worry about themselves, but Edwards doesn’t think that will be the case. He thinks that all three of those veterans understand that they need the rookies to be successful if the team is going to succeed.
“I think that’s all in the makeup of the player,” Edwards said. “Fortunately for me, I’ve been around a lot of good ones who have realized in order for us to get better as a team, they’re not looking at it selfishly, they’re worried about us getting better as a team.”
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