The Vikings spent last weekend employing a rotation of safeties Mike Doss and Tank Williams. Each was coming off knee surgery in 2006 – Doss for a torn ACL suffered in October and Williams for a fractured kneecap sustained in early August.
While the two safeties participated in only one session per day during the Vikings' two-a-day practices on Friday and Saturday, linebacker Chad Greenway complete all five sessions of work without incident.
Greenway's quick healing powers have impressed those who witnessed it.
In a preseason Monday night game on Aug. 14, Greenway tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee before while covering a kick. On Aug. 16, he was placed on injured reserve, ending his rookie year three weeks before the regular season even began.
But his rehabilitation progressed quickly.
"The trainers and doctors alike will tell you that there is really no pain that will limit you. All that pain that you're going to feel during rehab and stuff like this, you can push through. It's not actually hurting your body," Greenway said after completing five consecutive practices during the team's three-day minicamp. "Knowing that and having gone through it before helps a tremendous amount, and a lot of good people around me helping me and just the day-to-day grind."
Fellow South Dakota native and Vikings linebacker Ben Leber is among those impressed with Greenway's quick turnaround.
"It sounds like he just pushed himself harder than what some other people may do. I think maybe genetically some people can get rid of swelling a little better than others, but I knew that he was able to get the swelling out of there quickly and get it operated on quickly and then again break up all that scar tissue and stuff," Leber said. "I saw him on the training table a couple times with his eyes closed and just squeezing through the pain, so he's a tough kid."
The Vikings were ready to monitor Greenway throughout the weekend, just like they did with Williams and Doss. But Greenway proved to defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier that he was ready to go.
"We think he's doing fine," Frazier said after the third of five minicamp practices. "So far no complaints, no setbacks, and we just have to let him go as long as he can, but right now he seems 100 percent with no residual effects from that surgery."
It only took about a month after his ACL surgery for Greenway to start walking without the aid of crutches, then shortly thereafter he began attending meetings to continue to take "mental reps" while still enduring the physical pain that comes with rehabilitating a surgically repaired knee.
It turned out that the Vikings didn't need him for a playoff run, but if they hadn't placed him on injured reserve and they had made the playoffs, it's possible he might have been able to contribute if needed.
"Probably late January, early February I would have legitimately been able to play and been 100 percent out there. Obviously the trainers wouldn't have allowed that, but I could have gotten out on the field in late December if I absolutely would have had to for some odd reason. That wasn't the case," Greenway said. "I thought I had done a great job of rehabbing. The Vikings trainers put me through the right steps. Five practices in 2 ½ days and I have no soreness."
Not only does he not have soreness to report, he claims he hardly notices it.
"It's really like nothing really ever happened. I feel like my speed's right where it was, my burst is right where it was. There are some things obviously I have to work on just from taking a year off of football, coverage skills and things like that, but that just comes with repetition and it will be back."
At least at this point in the year, he's just happy it's repetition that he is concerning himself with instead of rehabilitation.
"He can't wait to get the pads on," head coach Brad Childress said Sunday at the completion of minicamp.
Green Light for Greenway
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