Veteran Viking Greenway focusing on being good teammate

MINNEAPOLIS--In an era when many athletes complain about playing time, Chad Greenway is an exception. In his 11th and likely final season, the Vikings linebacker was in for a career-low two snaps in Monday's 24-10 win over the New York Giants. Gr...

Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway (52) breaks up a pass intended for New York Giants tight end Will Tye (45) during the third quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Giants 49-17. (Reuters photo)

MINNEAPOLIS-In an era when many athletes complain about playing time, Chad Greenway is an exception.

In his 11th and likely final season, the Vikings linebacker was in for a career-low two snaps in Monday's 24-10 win over the New York Giants. Greenway, once accustomed to playing an entire game, now comes out when the Vikings are in the nickel defense.

"Everybody who's not playing would love to play every snap,'' Greenway said Wednesday. "That's what we do. We're competitors. But the reality is that it doesn't help us win by saying anything.

"I want to be a part of a team and make this team better, and this is how I can do that. ... I think being a good teammate and being part of an organization is maybe a lost art."

Greenway began coming out on passing situations last year but finished the season an every-down player because of injuries. His previous low had been 14 plays against Detroit on Sept. 20, 2015, and in Week 2 this season against Green Bay.


When Greenway takes a seat, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn is the slot back. Munnerlyn started against the Giants and was in for 64 of 66 plays as Vikings coach Mike Zimmer played more nickel defense than he has in any game since arriving in 2014.

"I signed up for (that role)," Greenway said. "I came in and competed my butt off to try to earn my spot on the team and that's my role. ... I've had games of playing eight, nine years in a row of every snap and being that guy. If I need to be that guy again for this football team, I'll be that guy. But right now this is what I'm being asked to do."

Treadwell patient

Playing back-to-back games against teams making the most of rookie wide receivers is serving as motivation for Laquon Treadwell, the Vikings' first-round pick in April who has yet to catch his first NFL pass.

On Monday, the Vikings faced second-round pick Sterling Shepard, who has 20 catches for 263 yards and two touchdowns for the New York Giants this season. This Sunday, the Vikings will face Houston Texans first-round pick Will Fuller, who has 19 receptions for 323 yards and two touchdowns.

The Texans drafted him two spots before the Vikings picked up Treadwell.

"That's the best thing for me, to just see those guys succeed," Treadwell said. "We're all rookies trying to make a name for ourselves. It's good. Props to them."

Treadwell was active Monday for the second time in four games. He played two offensive snaps against the Giants and two offensive snaps against the Green Bay Packers in Week 2, but has yet to touch the football.


At the NFL draft last spring, four receivers figured to go in the mid-to-late first round. Treadwell went last in that group, No. 23 to the Vikings.

Corey Coleman (7 receptions, 173 yards, 2 TDs) was picked No. 15 by Cleveland, Fuller was picked No. 21, and Josh Doctson (2 receptions, 66 yards) was picked No. 22 by Washington.

The Vikings were likely going to select whichever of those four fell to them.

This week, in prepping for Fuller and the Texans, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he scouted Fuller before the draft and was impressed.

"We liked him," Zimmer said. "He's a good player. He's fast."

Leonhardt signs

The Vikings signed tight end Brian Leonhardt, who played at Spring Lake Park High School and had been with the team earlier this year, to the practice squad.

"We're thin practicing right now, so we needed him a bit," Zimmer said.


Tight ends Kyle Rudolph (clavicle/rib), Rhett Ellison (knee) and David Morgan (knee) all sat out practice on Wednesday. That left MyCole Pruitt as the only tight end on the 53-man roster available for practice.

Rudolph became a father late Tuesday when his wife, Jordan, gave birth to twins, Andersyn and Finley.

Leonhardt, who played at Bemidji State, was signed with Minnesota in March but was waived Aug. 30. To make room on the practice squad, the Vikings released cornerback Tre Roberson.

Leonhardt, who played in 12 games with Oakland in 2014 and four with San Francisco last year, is in his third season.


Top receiver Stefon Diggs missed Wednesday's practice because of a groin injury, according to the team-issued injury report. He caught five passes for 47 yards against the Giants. ... Right tackle Andre Smith, sidelined with a triceps injury suffered Monday, was replaced by Jeremiah Sirles in practice. "Taking it a day at a time," Smith said.

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