|Vikings LB Chad Greenway leads the NFL with 10 fumble recoveries since 2007. (US Presswire)|
LB Chad Greenway is an undisputed leader of the Vikings. A veteran of seven seasons, he's a senior player in the locker room, and coach Leslie Frazier values his leadership. But as the leading tackler in the NFL, Greenway has certainly contributed on the field.
“[Chad's] been having a terrific year, obviously, based on those numbers,” Frazier said. “And the most encouraging thing is the way he has become a real leader for our football team. You look back at the offseason when he was really going through a tough time because of his father's illness and how much he wanted to be out there doing our offseason program to help his teammates -- but that's Chad. He missed being with his teammates during the time he wasn't able to be there.”
Greenway made the Pro Bowl last season as an alternate and he's on pace for another Pro Bowl season in 2012. In 2011, he had 174 tackles, two sacks and no interceptions. This season, he has 140 tackles, three sacks and a pick with two games remaining. Greenway leads the NFL since 2007 with 10 fumble recoveries, and he has led the Vikings in tackles since 2008.
“[Making tackles is] what we get paid to do as linebackers, so it is definitely important,” Greenway said. “But I am just trying to play well and get wins every week. I just try to be up near the top every year, and the last couple of years I've been up there. I just try to be as active as I can and try to make plays.”
Greenway isn't thinking about the Pro Bowl. Instead he's focusing on winning out and getting into the playoffs. After his team went 3-13 last season, he's happy to be in the postseason conversation.
“This is what you play for, you want to be in this situation in December,” Greenway said. “The last two years, we hadn't been, we've been playing meaningless games, answering the same questions every week about what's going on -- and we didn't have any answers. It's just fun to be where we're at right now. And we're going to enjoy it and let it hang out this weekend. Just go have fun and play ball. This is what you do it for. If we can play well and get in, we'll know we earned it.”
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Frazier certainly knows the value of Greenway's on-field performance, but he credits his leadership for having as much to do with the team's position in late December.
“The vocal leadership and the example he sets in practice, the way he handles meetings," Frazier said. "That's a big deal when you're an organization trying to change the culture of your team. To have a guy who is a very good player to really buy into what you're trying to get done helps the locker room. Not only the fact that he gets a lot of tackles and is making big plays for us now. All of those things are good, but what he's done, the intangibles from a leadership standpoint, is huge. It's a major part of why our season is where it is right now.”