Today is the first day in the rest of the life of Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway. Yesterday, he was a big man on campus at the University of Iowa and a hometown hero in the small town of Mount Vernon, S.D.
Today, he begins the process of starting all over again – coming in as the unknown commodity on a defense in transition. He is starting over and the 24-hour period in which he went from draft hopeful to hope of the future for the Vikings was a little bit overwhelming.
"It's been a whirlwind 24 hours," said Greenway at a press conference this morning. "To wake up yesterday in South Dakota with my family, it was an exciting day watching the minutes tick by every pick and just kind of hoping I did slip here because (Minnesota) was a place I really wanted to go."
The first order of business after being given No. 52 – the college number of Iowa teammate Abdul Hodge, who went the Packers on the third round of the draft – was to get a playbook. The team wasted little time in giving Greenway some light reading to help fill in any extra time he might have between now and minicamp.
"I think that might have been the first thing that happened – giving me something to start looking at," Greenway said. "I'm excited about getting the playbook and starting to learn stuff because we didn't do a whole lot of things on defense in Iowa. We were kind of ‘blah.' But it will be nice to learn a new system and maybe let loose a couple of times and make some plays."
With the self-described vanilla offense run by the Hawkeyes, Greenway was asked what he knows about the Cover-2. His answer? "I know there are two safeties," he joked.
All kidding aside, Greenway understands that his role within the defense is going to be critical. The Vikings identified linebacker as a primary need and Greenway as the ideal player to fit that need.
The Vikings, too, anticipate his progress to be quick. While nobody was guaranteeing him a starting job on opening day, it may well become the expectation when training camp opens. But Brad Childress claimed there is no push to anoint Greenway as an immediate starter.
"There's no question a learning curve," Childress said. "You hope to flatten that (curve) out as fast as you can, and when you're a smart guy that helps. It's the mental part of the game. He has all the physical tools or he wouldn't be sitting here, but being able to make adjustments, understand what the offense is trying to do to you and being able to take all that in and still play fast, that ends up being huge."
So, while Vikings are off the clock, Greenway is now on the clock – a clock that will determine when he will enter the starting lineup. While he wants to make that time frame sooner than later, he's not getting ahead of himself.
"I'm not making any expectations like that," said Greenway of the potential of being an opening-day starter when the regular season begins. "I'm going to go in there, learn the system, go into minicamp with an open mind and try to learn as fast as I can learn. There are some very good linebackers on this team. I'm going to come in and work as hard as I can to get into the lineup. But first an foremost, you have to earn the respect of your teammates and that's what I'm going to try to do through minicamp and workouts, just become one of the guys, mesh with the team and hopefully become one of the Vikings.
Greenway on the Runway of NFL Career
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