Linebacker Chad Greenway’s future might still be in doubt.
Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Greenway hasn’t “definitively” told him whether the linebacker will retire or not, but Zimmer and General Manager Rick Spielman have both spoken with Greenway.
The 2006 first-round draft pick of the Vikings gave every indication he was going to retire at the end of the 2016 season, going so far as to hold a press conference at the podium following the season finale, but apparently his decision hasn’t been solidified just yet.
“I think he’s still weighing everything. I think he’s probably leaning one way or the other, but he could still be swayed,” Zimmer said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “I think he really likes playing for the Vikings. I think he still loves playing football. He’s a guy that is going to have to stay busy anyways, whatever he does. That’s just his personality.”
Spielman said the Vikings should have an announcement soon and Zimmer said the team would like a decision before the start of free agency on March 9.
While Greenway was still a starter for the Vikings in 2016, he has been limited to mostly a base-defense linebacker, playing in 39 percent of the snaps last year and coming out when the Vikings are in the nickel defense.
Despite the limited playing time, he has held value to the Vikings on and off the field.
“He’s a guy that I rely on an awful lot. I’ll ask him about the locker room and in different areas of what things I can do better,” Zimmer said. “I was actually really fortunate this offseason. I guess it’s good and bad. But I had a lot of players come in and talk to me and say, ‘Hey, coach, we want you to be the best head coach you can be. Here’s some things that might help you [with] the way you handle things.’ Not necessarily the schematic things.
“So when Chad came in I asked him, ‘What can I do better? Some of these situations that came up, how could I have handled it better?’ That’s one area that a guy like him can really help with. It’s also carrying my message in that locker room, making sure guys are being accountable to one another. I think that’s a big thing, what goes on with the football team is accountability to one another.”
Greenway has been in the NFL for 11 seasons – he spent his rookie season on injured reserve after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in the preseason – all of them with the Vikings, amassing 1,334 tackles, 18 sacks and 11 interceptions during his career in Minnesota.