Emmanuel Lamur might be battling veteran Chad Greenway for playing time at weakside linebacker, but the Minnesota Vikings’ free-agent signee at linebacker is also learning plenty from the 11-year veteran.
During a portion of Sunday morning’s walk-through before the team’s first padded practice of training camp, Lamur and Greenway were two stand-alone observers behind the defense, standing shoulder to shoulder and looking over what the rest of the defense was doing.
Lamur had to pause for moment after Saturday’s practice when asked how he and Greenway are different with their skillsets.
“Wow, that’s a good question. We bring different things to the table,” he said. “I believe Chad is more of a technician guy. I like to say I’m an athletic guy, but we all bring different things to the table. Whatever we can use to help out the team in any way, so be it.”
After 10 years in the league, Greenway knows plenty about surviving and even thriving at times, but he certainly understands how to prepare himself for a season, a game or even a practice.
“He does everything right. He’s a great leader, even off the field doing everything right. Doing it the right way as a professional,” Lamur said. “There’s definitely a lot to learn from him. I like the way he comes to practice with a purpose. That gets me amped up and a lot of players in the linebackers room as well.”
For the last two years Greenway has been mentoring rookies that were high-round picks. In 2014 it was Anthony Barr. Last year it was Eric Kendricks. This year, Greenway could be preparing Lamur to eventually take over his starting spot, but that’s not happening yet.
Although Lamur has received some work with the first-team defense, head coach Mike Zimmer cautioned not to read too much into that. It was simply for the purposes of seeing what Lamur could do in certain personnel packages.
“I’ve seen him for I don’t know how many years. I know some of his strengths and I’m able to maybe incorporate some of those things,” Zimmer said. “We’re just looking at things that may happen down the road against certain teams, that this personnel group might be better against their personnel group or something like that.”
Lamur is in his first season with the Vikings, but he has experience in Zimmer’s system from their days together in Cincinnati. If Greenway retires after this season, as expected, Lamur offers a potential replacement plan.
“We’re competing, but at the end of the day my biggest competition is myself,” Lamur said. “Just taking one day at a time and just leaving it up to the coaches and whatever I can do to help out the team, let that be. I’m just looking forward to helping this team and taking this team real far.
“This team is on the rise. They are a winning team. This team has a lot of potential and we could definitely win it all.”
In some limited roles, Lamur could be a contributor to that goal, whether it is on special teams or creating a matchup advantage for Zimmer’s defense in certain situations.
For now, he’s trying to learn whatever he can from Greenway.
“Just doing everything the right way. Just being consistent at all times,” Lamur said. “This is a professional league, of course, so everybody’s good so you’ve got to things the right way every time.”
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES
- The Sunday afternoon practice is the first one of training camp in full pads.
- The Vikings took DT Kenrick Ellis off the physically-unable-to-perform list on Sunday. He was taking turns in the morning walk-through.
- Undrafted rookie CB Keith Baxter hasn’t been at practice since Friday’s opening walk-through. On Sunday, Zimmer said Baxter is in the hospital but declined to elaborate.
- Rookie LB Jason Jason Whittingham was also absent from Sunday’s walk-through.