Greenway plays career-low two snaps vs. Giants

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.--Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway has played in 144 NFL games. Never has he broken as little of a sweat as he did Monday night. In a 24-10 win over the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium, the 11-year veteran was in for a car...

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.-Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway has played in 144 NFL games. Never has he broken as little of a sweat as he did Monday night.

In a 24-10 win over the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium, the 11-year veteran was in for a career-low two snaps. His previous low had been 14, set Sept. 20, 2015, against Detroit and tied two weeks ago against Green Bay.

Greenway doesn't play in nickel situations in favor of cornerback Captain Munnerlyn. Greenway didn't start Monday, and Munnerlyn ended up playing 64 of the 66 defensive snaps.

"Chad's pretty smart; he knows kind of the game plan and things going into the game,'' Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Tuesday. "He's a team guy; he just wants to win. When he gets the opportunities, he'll go in and play. It's all a product of the game, really.''

Greenway has been coming out in passing situations since last season. Never, though, in his three Minnesota seasons has Zimmer used the nickel defense as much as he did against the Giants.


"That's just kind of the pro game now,'' Zimmer said. "It's just a whole bunch of nickel stuff. I thought Captain did a nice job in the slot. Obviously, the outside guys all did a good job. The two safeties (Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo) played well.''

For a second straight game, Zimmer rotated his outside cornerbacks, although he declined to speculate whether he will do that again Sunday against Houston (3-1) at U.S. Bank Stadium. On Monday, starter Terence Newman was in for 56 plays, starter Xavier Rhodes for 45 and Trae Waynes for 31.


Zimmer said left guard Alex Boone, Minnesota's most notable free-agent signee during the offseason, had a strong showing against the Giants.

"He was good in pass protection, physical in the run game,'' Zimmer said. "It was his best game he's played since he's been here."

Less encouraging has been the performance of left tackle T.J. Clemmings, who played his second straight game in relief of Matt Kalil, out for the season following hip surgery. Pro Football Focus ranks Clemmings as the worst tackle in the NFL out of 77 with a qualifying number of snaps.

On the right side, Zimmer didn't have an update Tuesday on the status of tackle Andre Smith, lost for the game after six plays Monday with a right elbow injury. Replacing Smith was Jeremiah Sirles.

"He's a battler,'' Zimmer said. "He's done a nice job.''


After Boone was knocked out in the second quarter Sept. 25 at Carolina with a hip injury, Sirles replaced him the rest of the way and played well. Zimmer said there are no plans now, though, to insert Sirles into the starting lineup.

"Right now, we're not planning on that, but we'll see how it goes,'' Zimmer said.


Minnesota's players were off Tuesday, but not Blair Walsh.

A day after missing yet another attempt, the Vikings kicker came in to practice at the Winter Park fieldhouse.

Walsh was wide left on a 46-yard field-goal attempt against the Giants. Coming off his 27-yard miss in the waning seconds of a 10-9 playoff loss January to Seattle, Walsh this season is 8 of 11 on field goals and 6 of 8 on extra points.

Zimmer, though, said it hasn't gotten to the point where he's looking to bring kickers in to try out.

"No, not yet,'' he said.


Zimmer hasn't talked to Walsh about his latest miss, saying, "We correct it and move on.'' He said after Monday's game that missed kicks could prove costly if they continue.

"We need to make those or it's going to bite us in the rear end,'' Zimmer said. "Our team is going to be playing close games.''

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