The Minnesota Vikings were close to completing a deal to re-sign linebacker Chad Greenway, as first reported by FOX Sports on Thursday morning, described as “imminent,” and hours later Greenway indicated the deal is done.
Greenway has been with the Vikings since they selected him in the first round of 2006 NFL Draft and he has been a starter since his second season (he tore his ACL covering a kickoff in preseason of his rookie season).
Although a deal took longer than many anticipated, both Greenway and the Vikings maintained a mutual interest in getting a deal done for him to play one more NFL season. Last year during the season Greenway gave indications that 2015 could be his last, but he said after their playoff loss that he wanted to return for one more year.
In 2015, Greenway played in all 16 games, starting 13 of them. He finished the season with 86 tackles, four tackles for a loss, 2½ sacks and one interception. His interception was returned 91 yards for a touchdown, the sixth-longest return for a score by a linebacker in NFL history.
Last week at the NFL owners meetings, head coach Mike Zimmer said there is still a big role for Greenway in the defense.
“I think there will be a role for Chad, just very similar to his role last year,” Zimmer said. “One thing about that position is (Anthony) Barr was hurt a couple games, (Eric) Kendricks was hurt a couple games, Audie Cole got hurt, we traded (Gerald) Hodges, whatever. It’s a very fluid position because of the nature of the injuries. I think there’s a role for Chad, yeah. He played (in 2015) more than he thought he was going to play going into the season and I think it will probably be the same way this year if he gets signed back.”
Greenway led the Vikings in tackles from 2008-2013 and ranked second in 2007. He is only the third Vikings linebacker to play in 100 or more games. He is sixth all-time among Vikings with 850 solo tackles and surpassed 1,000 total tackles in 2013.