As the Vikings' first-round draft pick, Chad Greenway received extensive action in his first minicamp with the team. It let him know where he stands in relation to being able to carve out a productive first year in the NFL.
's adjustment to the NFL began with the Vikings' first mini-camp this month. Greenway, the 17th pick overall in the draft out of Iowa
, is expected to be given every opportunity to win the starting job at weakside linebacker.
The coaching staff wasted no time in getting Greenway work, giving him extensive time with the second and third teams and also mixing in some snaps with the first unit.
"It felt good," Greenway said. "The first practice (of mini-camp) was obviously a huge adjustment, just to get the feel for everything and knowing where you're supposed to be on the practice field. The game is extremely fast and there are a lot of adjustments you are trying to make. The second practice, I felt a lot better, a lot more comfortable out there."
The highlight of Greenway's mini-camp came during the second practice on the opening day, when he picked off a pass by backup quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan.
"He's really done some good things," said Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin. "To be quite honest with you, he needs to do a better job of hustling. But I say that and we're giving him extra reps. He's taking reps with the second group, the third group and he got a couple reps with the first group, and then we're getting on his butt about hustling.
"It kind of comes with the territory. We want to accelerate his learning curve, and at the same time he understands the good and bad that comes with being Chad Greenway."
Greenway, who is 6-2, 242 pounds, has been spending time working on his conditioning. However, he quickly learned he needed more work in that area.
"I thought I was in great shape, and then we did the pursuit drill six times in a row," Greenway said. "You can soon feel like you're out of shape. It's a different type of shape to be in football shape, doing four-second speed bursts rather than doing long sprints like I have been doing."
Coach Brad Childress has been impressed by what he has seen from veteran quarterback Brad Johnson off the field as well as on. "He has such a dictionary, if you will, of offense in his head," Childress said. "He's got his own notebooks. I've seen his notebooks. He's made tape of plays that he likes. Some of the ones we're able to adapt, some of the ones we already have in the offense and some of them I'll probably have to tell him, you know what, you need to run that when you get your own football team."
Cornerback Ronyell Whitaker, whom the Vikings signed as a free agent, was impressive playing for Rhein in NFL Europe. He returned two of his four interceptions for touchdowns. "I get reports on him and I watch games, and I guess he's lighting it up," said defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin, who coached Whitaker with Tampa Bay. "He's doing well, but that doesn't surprise me; I've known that young man for a long time. He has great football character. He has ridiculous work habits. He's going to come in here fighting. He's not going to take a back seat to anyone."
Tight end Jermaine Wiggins, who was listed at 6-2, 260 pounds last season, was noticeably thinner at the Vikings' second mini-camp this month. Childress had told a group of players he wanted them to lose weight after the first mini-camp. "That's nobody's business but ours," Childress said when asked who lost the most weight.
Rookie free-agent receiver Kyle Smith is the son of San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith. Kyle, who caught 101 passes for 1,536 yards and 10 touchdowns at Youngstown State, said he picked the Vikings over Tampa Bay. San Diego was not an option.