EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Chad Greenway was picked as an injury replacement for the Pro Bowl last season. He was credited with a career-high 174 tackles. That certainly wasn't his best year, though.
The Minnesota Vikings struggled often on defense in 2011, and Greenway was a part of that. He didn't force any turnovers, and the back seven was often exploited in the passing game.
Through three games this season, though, Greenway has been the disruptive, relentless outside linebacker the Vikings are paying him to be. He's had a few lapses in coverage, but Greenway has been all over the field. He had two sacks, two quarterback hurries and 16 tackles in last week's upset of San Francisco. The best part about that game for Greenway was that his father was in the seats watching.
"To just get the win and be able to have a lot of fun playing the game that I love and that I grew up around him loving, that was huge," Greenway said.
Alan Greenway has been fighting leukemia this year, an illness that grew serious enough for Greenway to miss many of the team's offseason practices. The South Dakota farmer's condition has improved, however, and he's "doing as well as can be expected," Greenway said.
"There's a long, tough road," he said. "But right now he's doing well."
Greenway has hogged the defensive highlights before, particularly in 2009 when he had three interceptions and three fumble recoveries for the NFC runner-up team. He had 5½ sacks in 11 quarterback hurries in 2008. Greenway and the Vikings would agree, though, that there's the potential for more production and impact over the course of an entire season.
That game against the 49ers, considering their status as Super Bowl favorites, was one of those performances that suggested he can be that standout the Vikings need in the middle of their defense.
"I knew I wasn't going to leave anything left in the tank, that's for sure. Not that I ever really do. I just want it to be special. Nobody in this building knew that he was going to be there besides me, but I'm just so happy that we played that kind of football on a day that, for me, was important," Greenway said.
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