Chad Greenway donned an America Needs Farmers hoodie early Wednesday morning before going to work in the Winter Park practice fields.
The South Dakota-farm-raised Iowa grad, who has called Minnesota home since 2006, discussed several topics with NFL HQ on NFL Network, including advice he's received from Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer, what it's been like to see growth in young players and the seeds of goodwill he continues to sow in this community.
Now preparing for his 11th season, which he's said might be his last, the status of the Vikings fourth-leading tackler ever was one of the first topics.
"Coach Zimmer mentioned to me it would not be wise to continue to mention it was going to be my last year because you never know," Greenway said. "I tend to listen to his advice."
Many Vikings players view Zimmer, who turned 60 on June 5, as a father figure. Greenway, 33, has talked about how much he's been able to learn since Zimmer's arrival in 2014. Every other linebacker on the roster is 28 or younger, and they've turned to the elder-statesman among the position group for guidance.
"It's a fun group to play with," Greenway said. "I think it's great to sit back and watch them grow and get better, get a chance to be a mentor to Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr, two great young linebackers who really took the NFL by crazy storm the last couple of years, and I think it's great to watch Harrison Smith, Everson Griffen, these guys are going to be great players, are great players. I just want to watch them grow and lead the organization in the right direction.
Greenway said Zimmer's impact has helped the totality of the roster improve.
"Coach Zimmer is a passionate guy," Greenway said. "He loves the game of football, and most importantly, he loves to coach. He loves to be out there. That's where he's at his happiest.
"His accountability that he pushes on us for being exact, whether it be alignments, whether it is what we have to do that play, our coverage or run responsibility, he's on us every play and is consistent throughout the year," Greenway said. "I think that having that accountability from the head guy and knowing he's putting the work in to get ups prepared just motivates you as a player to go in there and get better. I think it pushes us as leaders, us vets to impose that on younger guys."
Greenway hosted his golf tournament fundraiser for his Lead The Way Foundation on Monday and is preparing to host the 10th annual Gridiron Gallop 5K at Lake Nokomis to benefit Minneapolis Parks & Rec this Sunday. The proceeds from the race will go to provide scholarship opportunities for parks and rec programs and improve fields and equipment. Click*here* to register.
"It's a great Father's Day event," Greenway said. "We get out and try to make it a family affair."
There's one part of the day, however, that he's planning to sidestep.
"I'm trying to avoid running at all costs," Greenway said with a laugh.