MANKATO, Minn. —The effort to replace Vikings No. 52 Chad Greenway is a competition that will unfold over the course of the team's 52nd training camp at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
It won't be a sprint, and there's no time for a marathon, but two of the frontrunners are likely to keep it friendly.
The Vikings opened Thursday's practice with Emmanuel Lamur taking first-team reps with the base defense at Greenway's former weakside spot. At Friday's walk-through practice, Edmond Robinson participated with the 1s.
"That's what it's going to be right now," Lamur said Friday. "We have a rotation going on right now and will see what will happen in this next few weeks.
"I'm not trying to rush or anything or get too high or too low," Lamur, wearing No. 59, added. "I'm just coming out here, having fun and getting better each and every day."
Defensive Coordinator George Edwards called Greenway an "extreme leader" and added "it's hard to describe what he brought to this football team."
"But we've got a group of young guys at linebackers who really don't have as much experience," Edwards said. "But they're battling through camp, they'll continue to battle through camp, and again, we'll work for them to see who's the most consistent every day. Take the skill set that they have, adapt it in the scheme and try to adjust them as best as we can."
Lamur is preparing for his sixth NFL season and second with Minnesota. He also spent four seasons with Cincinnati, including 2012-13 with Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer as his defensive coordinator. Lamur has played in 55 games, including 15 starts, and has been credited with 145 tackles, two interceptions and 12 pass breakups.
Lamur said the Vikings personnel is obviously different from the Bengals and added that he's been impressed by the way teammates in Minnesota have focused on doing "the little things right."
"I'm not saying that we didn't in Cincinnati. It's just that we have a lot of guys that really care and hold each other accountable," Lamur said. "We have a great group of guys, guys that work hard and are passionate about this game. That's what this is all about, living out your dreams."
Robinson, No. 51 with the Vikings, is no stranger to living out big dreams. He was a seventh-round pick by the Vikings out of Division-II Newberry College in 2015 after Vikings linebackers coach Adam Zimmer visited the campus. Selected 232nd overall, Robinson was the first player drafted from Newberry since 1974.
After backing up Anthony Barr at the strongside linebacker the past two seasons, Robinson said he's excited about the opportunity to compete for the weakside spot because it is more similar to what he did in college.
"The weakside, I think, suits me better for what I did in college, playing in space," Robinson said. "That's what I played in college. I actually enjoy the weakside better, but knowing that I've played the strong side, I'll be ready if Coach needs me to fill in at the Sam or the Will."
Robison has appeared in 21 total games, including a pair of starts as a rookie. He has recorded nine tackles, one pass breakup and 11 tackles on special teams and appreciated the opportunity to learn from Lamur.
"E-Man is definitely a great guy. He's a great help to me," Robinson said. "He's definitely been helping me these last few years. He understands it's a competition, but we're both coming out here and pushing each other every day. May the best man win the job."
Both are committed to doing their best to make what should be a good defense — one that was in the top six in the NFL in points allowed and yards allowed in 2016 — even stronger.
"Oh man, [starting] would be a privilege for sure," Lamur said. "This is a great defense. We've just got to keep that peak form, come in, do our job and execute the play call, no matter what."