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 »