Chad Greenway, Fresh Off Five-Year Contract Extension, on Vikings’ 2011 Season: “It’s nice to be sort of under everybody’s radar.”

September 6, 2011 – 6:45 am by Steven Cuce

The Minnesota Vikings have locked up their leading tackler from 2010, Chad Greenway, with a five-year, $41 million extension, $20 million of which is guaranteed. Earlier in the off-season the Vikings had placed the franchise tag on Greenway, which would have cost the Vikings roughly $10.1 million in salary and cap space in 2011. Though Greenway’s deal is hefty, it’s well deserved and it actually lowers his cap number significantly as Greenway prepares to play his first full season under defensive minded head coach Leslie Frazier.

Greenway sounds extremely upbeat about the 2011 season and who can blame the new millionaire? The Vikings get to start with a clean slate this season after last year went awry with Brad Childress being fired and Randy Moss apparently causing distractions in the locker-room. Minnesota ultimately ended up with a 6-10 record in 2010 after reaching the NFC Championship game two years ago. Those are distant memories though for Greenway and the Vikings defense. They’re just fired up to be the underdogs in the NFC North this season.

Chad Greenway joined KFAN in Minneapolis with Dan Barreiro to discuss his new contract extension with Minnesota ($41 million over 5-years with $20 million guaranteed), knowing there was a good chance he was going to get a contract done before the start of this season, the disappointment of the 2010 season for the Minnesota Vikings, the Vikings defense being any different with a full training camp under Leslie Frazier, and the rival Green Bay Packers sitting atop the mountain as the NFL’s reigning champion heading into this season.

Congratulations on the new contract. Our sources say $41 million over 5-years with $20 million guaranteed. You have to be feeling pretty good today?

“Yeah obviously it’s a pretty good day. It’s a good day in general because of many reasons. Obviously the money is great, but more so knowing I will be here for 5 years obviously is pretty exciting.”

Did you know there was a good chance a new deal was going to get done before the season after you were franchise tagged?

“Well I really wanted to get this thing done. In the new collective bargaining agreement the franchised players have to be signed by September 20th, so that was really a date that was key. We wanted to get something done. The Vikings wanted to get something done. Naturally they have been working on it basically since all throughout training camp trying to find common ground, so it was just sort of nice, steady progress throughout the way and I’m sure Rick [Spielman] and my agent had some tough times, but for the most part I tried to stay out of it and just waiting until they got closer to say yes or no on a deal.”

When you look back on it now how annoying was last season?

“On a scale from one to ten? It was a twelve. You go through a season like that especially coming off a season like in 2009 when everything just seemed to go our way especially late in the season and once we got into the playoffs. It’s frustrating from the standpoint that there are people out there if you want to say 75-85% of the players that are going out there and doing absolutely everything they can do to try to win these football games and once you sort of get behind the eight ball things sort of fall apart. It becomes tough and I think last year there were so many distractions from really both sides whether it be the coaching change, Randy Moss, everybody knows from top to bottom what we went through. It’s so nice to have in our rear view mirror and be able to look forward. It’s nice to be sort of under everybody’s radar. We can kind of go in and play our game and be good and hopefully come out looking like roses.”

What will be different about the defensive philosophy in 2011 after having a full training camp with Leslie Frazier?

“I think we will maybe blitz more on occasion. You saw last year in the six games what was different in coaching with Leslie Frazier and Fred Pagac. We did blitz more on occasion and when it was convenient and good for us. We didn’t just go out there and throw bombs and missiles because we knew we could do it. We went out there and it was more of a game plan. Obviously we ended those last six games with a record of 3-3, so you don’t want to translate that into 8-8 this year. You want to become better. You want to become more game plan orientated. We’ll have different things for Philip Rivers or Michael Vick or for Aaron Rodgers. That’s just the way it is going to be. We could be more aggressive. That is definitely a possibility and definitely coach Pagac’s nature. It’s also going to depend on the type of the personnel we have coming as the years goes.”

Are you surprised that the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl last year despite all the injuries? Should they be ranked as the top team going into this season?

“Well I think so. You have to compare what you see and coming off the Super Bowl they should be number one. First of all they have key guys that are going to be healthy this year, so naturally they are an extremely talented team. They are very good, but at the same time every year is a new chance to be reloaded and a new chance to come in with a fresh attitude and that’s our approach. Obviously you have Detroit, who is up-and-coming, a lot of people are giving them some confidence going into the season as well and I think you have Chicago who was there too. It’s not an easy division for sure, but the beauty of it is if you can rise to the top of your division, especially this division, you are going to be right in the hunt and that’s where we want to be.”

Listen to Chad Greenway on KFAN in Minneapolis here [Interview begins at the 14:30 mark of the podcast]

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