Following the team’s playoff loss last January, Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway said that he wanted to return for another season. It took awhile, but the two sides were finally able to come to terms on a one-year deal worth up to $2.75 million, the team announced last week.
Greenway was named the team’s Man of the Year for his work volunteering in the community Sunday night at the Minnesota Football Honors banquet. He was asked about his decision to return to the team, and in a joking manner said it was because of general manager Rick Spielman.
“I know a lot of guys don’t, but I do love Rick,” Greenway said with a smile and then got plenty of laughs from the crowd.
He then went on to explain that he loves Minnesota and everyone on the team. He was born and raised in South Dakota, went to college in Iowa and has spent his entire career with the Vikings. So being able to remain in the Midwest for his entire football career has meant a lot to him.
It also sounded as though he wants a shot at a Super Bowl title. Now, the Vikings signed two other linebackers in free agency this offseason - Emmanuel Lamur and Travis Lewis - so Greenway knows that a starting spot is not guaranteed. But he knows that, even if he is not named a starter, he will have the role of a veteran leader on this team. He will have to make sure that everyone is doing their part on the team, so they can be as successful as possible.
“I think competition is what makes the NFL so great, at every position,” he explained. “We brought in some more great players at my position, at other positions as well, and you don’t go into your 11th season without somebody trying to take your job, and specifically Emmanuel is a great player, I know he’s a good kid, he’s going to fit into our room and regardless of how things shake out - I’ll say this until Game 1 - we’re all going to have our own roles and the roles will all be pushed towards helping our team win football games to get the inevitable goal. It’s not about these small things. Yes, they’re important individually, but it’s taking away from the end result of wanting to win a Super Bowl and that’s our mentality that every position has to have.”
The veteran linebacker did say “that most likely this will be it” in terms of his career in the NFL. However, he did not completely rule out the possibility of coming back another season.
But Greenway is also a realist and knows that he is not going to be able to play football forever. He wants to be able to leave on his own terms, which really makes it seem as though this will be his final season.
“I got some good advice from somebody, ‘Never retire before you retire.’ I’m just going to continue to play,” Greenway said. “I have my, sort of that direction, I want to walk away a Minnesota Viking, sort of on my own terms, and few NFL players get to do that and have the opportunity to do that. This organization and my career have allowed me to do that to kind of be in that situation.”