Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer thinks Chad Greenway will be back with the Vikings in 2016.
"I mean, I think he wants to be back, and I think we'd like to have him back," Zimmer said Thursday during a session with Twin Cities media members in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine. "But, you never know. It all comes down to money."
Greenway, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 9, restructured his contract prior to the 2015 season to remain with the Vikings for a 10th season.
"I think Chad was very valuable for us this year," Zimmer said. "He was going to be more of a part-time starter, maybe play a third of the game, and then a couple guys got hurt and he ended up playing a lot more snaps."
Greenway played all 16 games in 2015, starting 13 of them. The 33-year-old finished fourth on the team in tackles (86) while adding 2.5 sacks, four tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries and a 91-yard pick-six worthy of the highlight reels.
Since the 2015 season wrapped up, Greenway has been open about his desire to play one final season in purple and gold.
"We had such a fun time with this football team and the guys we have there," Greenway said in a recent interview. "Obviously, the needle is pointing in the right direction for us, talent-wise and where we're at as an organization. The new stadium opening up is such a cool thing. I'd love to be able to play in that. I haven't been shy to announce I want to finish my career as a Viking. I think that's obviously my mantra, but you can't do that without putting quality football on the field. Knowing I've done that and had a good year, I think I feel good about coming back for another one."
While Zimmer acknowledged Greenway's production for the Vikings last season, his appreciation for the veteran extends beyond just statistics.
"Chad's valuable in a lot of different ways, and it's not just on the field," Zimmer said. "I do think he can still play. And you're always trying to find younger and better – I mean, that's just part of the league. I think Chad is valuable for our football team, whether that's as a starter or part-time starter or what – we'll just have to let that all play out."
What to do with Kendricks?
Greenway played weakside linebacker, providing leadership for strongside linebacker Anthony Barr (a 2014 first-round pick) and middle linebacker Eric Kendricks (a 2015 second-round selection).
Some thought Kendricks wasn't big enough to man the middle, but his 105 tackles were the fourth-most ever by a Vikings rookie. Zimmer was asked if the Vikings might move Kendricks outside this season.
"That's still a tough question," Zimmer said. "I do think he'd be a good player at that position. I always have a concern about moving a guy who has played pretty well to another position, just because it may not turn out the way you want."
"Sometimes it does and it's great," Zimmer added. "It all depends on who we end up drafting, if we draft a guy, if we go (with a) free agent and how it all unfolds if Chad comes back. All of those things are still up in the air."
Zimmer also was asked about veteran cornerback Terence Newman's status for 2016. Newman will be 38 in September but started all 16 games for the Vikings and led them with three interceptions after joining Minnesota via a one-year deal.
"I think he wants to play, yeah. I've heard from several sources, but I've not specifically talked to him," Zimmer said. "The coaches really liked Terence and the things he was able to do. He played good. Does he want to play 65 plays and 16 games? I don't know. And the other thing, if [2015 first-round pick Trae] Waynes is better, then we play him."
Asked if Newman might move from corner to safety, similar to Charles Woodson did in the later stages of his career, Zimmer said, "I'd probably call him more a DB than a safety or a corner. He plays all the positions and he's smart enough to do that for us."