Over the past week, our “Gaining The Extra Edge” series identified 4 players (not including obvious stars such as Jared Allen or Brett Favre) who hold the key to the Vikings gaining the extra edge in 2010. Today, the series concludes with #1 on the list – LB Chad Greenway.
Greenway recorded a career-high 150 tackles in 2008 and followed up that effort by tallying a team-high 127 tackles in 2009, marking the 2nd consecutive season he led the Vikings in tackles. He also led all NFL LBs with 6 takeaways during 2009 – including 3 INTs – and then he went on to register 17 total tackles and 1.0 sack in the playoffs.
Known as a tireless worker, Greenway has rebounded strongly from a knee injury that ended his rookie season before it really ever began and now he enters his 5th season in 2010 poised to have another solid campaign. The University of Iowa product has settled in with his family among the local community and that’s allowed him to spend plenty of his offseason at Winter Park preparing for the season.
Aside from his status as a rising defender in the NFL, we position Greenway #1 in this series because of the leadership role he could take if MLB E.J. Henderson is forced to miss time early in the season as he recovers from a leg injury sustained late in the 2009 campaign. Henderson was leading the team in tackles when he was placed on injured reserve last season. And as bad as it stung to lose Henderson at a critical juncture in the regular season, Greenway’s ability to step up in #56’s absence allowed the Vikings defense to retain its toughness and help the team make a postseason run to the NFC Championship Game.
In the 6 games after Henderson’s injury, Greenway averaged 9.3 tackles per game, including consecutive games of 12 and 13 tackles during the regular season and then 8 tackles in the Divisional round playoff game and 9 stops in the NFC title game. If Henderson misses time to start the 2010 regular season, Greenway will once again have the opportunity to step in and increase his production.
And that will give the Vikings that extra edge in 2010.
Tags: Chad Greenway, E.J. Henderson
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 16 Comments »
Hall of Fame WR Jerry Rice and future Hall of Fame WR Cris Carter were invited to Minnesota last summer by Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, Jr., who has an annual tradition of inviting other young NFL players to train with him in Minnesota during the offseason.
This summer, Fitzgerald – a MN native and graduate of Holy Angels – asked Hall of Fame WR Michael Irvin to drop by the summer workouts to offer his insight into playing football at the highest possible level.
Vikings WR Sidney Rice, who emerged last year as a budding star in the NFL, participated in Fitzgerald’s workouts last summer and said during the team’s mandatory minicamp last month that he would be doing so again this summer.
The Star Tribune’s Chip Scoggins caught up with Irvin while he was in Minnesota to talk, among other things, about Rice and the challenges that are ahead for the 4th-year WR.
“Maintain on a different fear,” Irvin told Scoggins. “The first fear was, ‘I’ve got to prove that I belong. I have to go out and all my workouts [say], I’m going to prove that I belong. Nobody believes in me.’ OK, you’ve proven that. Now, you’ve got to prove that you belong to stay on top. That I am here to stay on top, and that’s a different monster.”
Irvin acknowledged that the presence of talented WRs Bernard Berrian and Percy Harvin will help Rice produce at the level he did last year, but he also maintained that Rice needs to be the Vikings main pass-catching threat.
“But [Rice] still has to be the main man. Here lies the problem. Nobody cares, nobody wants to hear that the safety is rolling over on you. They want to know, why are you not making the same plays? ‘Well, I’m getting double teamed.’ No, we don’t want to hear that.
“Don’t tell us how rocky the waters are. Why are you not docking the ship? That’s all we want to know. If he doesn’t dock the ship, you guys are going to be writing about it and I’m going to be talking about it. The object is to dock the ship. It becomes a little more difficult when you’re the main guy and people are game-planning you.”
Scoggins also discussed Brett Favre with Irvin, so be sure to check out the link I included above. But then get back here to vikings.com.
Tags: Sidney Rice
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 9 Comments »
On Tuesday we pointed out that Vikings G Steve Hutchinson topped Jamie Dukes’ list of the best OL in the league, as the NFL Network debuted its “Best in the Biz” series. But today there are no Vikings to point out as the series moved on to identify the top 5 TEs in the NFL.
Charles Davis was charged with the task of pointing out the NFL’s best TEs, and his list went as follows: #5 Vernon Davis and Jermichael Finley, #4 Dallas Clark, #3 Jason Witten, #2 Antonio Gates and #1 Tony Gonzalez. I argued in Tuesday’s entry pointing out Hutchinson’s place among the top 5 OL that Shiancoe deserved similar consideration among his position group, but Davis obviously doesn’t agree.
I have no issue with Davis’ top 4 TEs, but I do think an argument can be made for Shiancoe to be placed ahead of Davis and Finley. Shiancoe finished the 2009 season tied for 4th in the NFL with 11 TD receptions – which set a team record for most TDs in a single season by a Vikings TE – and he now has 18 TDs over the last 2 seasons, which is 1st among all TEs during that time and tied for 3rd-most among all players.
In addition, Shiancoe is a true professional who is known for a tireless work ethic and extensive post-practice routine. He’s also never missed a game during his 7-year career, playing in 112 regular season games and 5 playoff contests.
With all of that said, I know Charles Davis and respect his football opinion. The NFL is deep at the TE position and I’m sure there were other tough decisions Davis had to make.
Tags: Visanthe Shiancoe
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 11 Comments »