EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –"One more year! One more year!"* *
An enthusiastic chant broke out during Chad Greenway's live radio interview during Winterfest in February, encouraging the linebacker's return.
A number of Vikings fans also started a #OneMoreYear campaign on Twitter, and it seems both groups of lobbyists have gotten their wish. The Vikings announced Monday they have re-signed Greenway for the 2016 season.
Greenway said he received a flood of positive feedback from fans through social media, and he continues to appreciate all the support.
"[It was great] to know that my loyalty to the organization has meant something to the fans," Greenway said. "It hasn't just been for nothing or for personal reasons; it really has been for the fans and wanting to be a part of something bigger than myself. The fans have appreciated that, and I've certainly appreciated them and all their support [...] not only through social media but also on game day and down in Mankato. Our fans are great, and I just continue to love them."
Vikings fans aren't the only ones thrilled about the Greenway's newly inked deal.
"Both my family and I are excited," Greenway said. "It's been a goal of mine, and for my entire family, to finish a Viking – to be here for an 11th season and to play for this organization. We couldn't be more excited to be back."
Greenway, who has restructured his contract the past two seasons to remain in Minnesota, recalled his rookie year after the Vikings selected him 17th overall in the 2006 NFL Draft.
"It was a whirlwind," said Greenway. "It's funny the things you remember, like the conditioning test, going to my first training camp where my roommate was Ben Leber. You start to build these relationships."
After tearing his ACL during the Vikings first preseason game and missing the entire 2006 season, Greenway immediately made an impact during 2007, contributing 105 tackles, two forced fumbles and two interceptions.
"To think back 10 years ago, and now to see myself sitting here going into my 11th season, it's been kind of a fairy tale," Greenway said.
Throughout his tenure, Greenway has been well-liked and respected by fans, teammates and coaches alike.
"I love Chad," Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said in his season-ending press conference in January. "He's a great Viking […] I think his leadership is immense in the locker room, especially with a young football team. I think he took active ownership in the role that he had this year […]. He's always going to be one of my kind of guys."
Although Greenway was initially slated for a lesser role in 2015, he maintained a main responsibility due to teammates' injuries. He played all 16 games, starting 13 of them, and recorded 86 tackles (61 solo), 4.0 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, four quarterback hurries, one pass defensed and one interception. On Sept. 27, Greenway snagged a 91-yard pick six against San Diego worthy of the highlight reels.
Over 10 seasons with the Vikings, Greenway has 1,289 tackles (857 solo), 63.0 tackles for loss, 18.0 sacks, 55 quarterback hurries, 10 forced fumbles, 11 fumble recoveries, 10 interceptions and 45 passes defensed. He was the NFC combined tackles leader in 2010 and received consecutive Pro Bowl nods in 2012 and 2013.
View photos of Vikings veteran LB Chad Greenway who will be back for his 11th season with in Minnesota.
In addition to on-field contributions, Greenway provides an important veteran presence for the Vikings locker room.
"Chad's valuable in a lot of different ways, and it's not just on the field," Zimmer said in a session with Twin Cities media members during the NFL Combine.
Greenway explained that, by nature, the linebacker position is one of leadership on the field. However, he said the leadership transcends into another level for veteran players.
"When you're on the field, you're showing people how to do things the right way, but you also have the experience behind you that you can vocally tell people what to do, how to do it and the Viking way to do it. [It's] almost being a microcosm of what [Coach Zimmer] has asked you to do," Greenway said. "When you get to that point, you need to be very comfortable with your game – who you are as a player and a leader – and the one thing you can't do [as a] leader is take that day off."
Greenway doesn't plan on taking any days off, between stepping foot in U.S. Bank Stadium for the first time and – hopefully – February.
He's in purple and gold for one more year, and he's ready to make it count.