Linebacker Chad Greenway may have had one of his best games Sunday against one of the NFL's best teams, but there was personal inspiration behind it.
Greenway, in his seventh season with the Vikings after being a first-round draft pick in 2006, was inspired to make sure he had full effort on every play with his ailing father Alan in the stands.
"For me, (the game) had a bunch of added greatness. My dad was at the game, so that was huge for me just to get the win," Greenway said one day after the Minnesota Vikings upset the San Francisco 49ers 24-13. "But to be able to have a lot of fun playing the game that I love and the game that I grew up around him loving, that was huge. That was a big part of it."
Greenway revealed in June that his father had been diagnosed with leukemia, although he said at the time that the form of cancer was in remission.
The last time his Alan attended a game at Mall of America Field was Jan. 1, the Vikings' final home game of the 2011 season. He also went to the Pro Bowl in February to watch Chad make his first appearance in that all-star game.
Greenway put on an inspired show Sunday against the Associated Press' top-ranked team heading into Week 3. He had a team-high 13 tackles and a career-high two sacks of 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. He was also credited with a tackle for a loss.
"I don't know if it felt different, I just knew I wasn't going to leave anything left in the tank, not that I ever really do," he said of having his father at the upset win. "I wanted it to be special. Nobody in this building probably knew he was going to be there besides me, but I'm just happy that we ended up playing that kind of football on the day. For me, it was important."
Greenway missed a number of organized team activities in the offseason to help support dad back in South Dakota and help with trips to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., but Greenway made sure to attend the team's three-day minicamp.
Alan was back in Rochester for more tests on Monday.
"He's the man," Greenway said of his father back in June. "He's always been the man. He's been great. The physical appearance changes, but for us, he's the same guy."
These days, Greenway said Alan is "doing as well as can be expected. It's a long, tough row to hoe, but he's doing well right now."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Pictures from the Vikings' 24-13 upset victory over the San Francisco 49ers at Mall of America Field…