Thursday night the NFL Network made Adrian Peterson the No. 1 player in the "Top 100 Players Of 2013" countdown that started prior to the draft in April. Back in May, Chad Greenway checked in on the list for the first time. It came as a little bit of a surprise because many outside linebackers on the list are typically pass-rushing linebackers in 3-4 defenses that are essentially stand-up defensive ends.
Greenway has mixed emotions about the top 100 list. If you were to ask his teammates and coaches, they would tell you that Greenway should have been a Pro Bowler the last four seasons because he has consistently played at a high level. While the Pro Bowl (and the top 100) selections are often a popularity contest based as much on name recognition as talent, finally cracking the list and making it 30 spots into the 2013 list was a source of pride for Greenway.
"Obviously, you think the list is genius when you're on it and ridiculous when you're not," Greenway said. "You can take too much stock into lists. You are what you are. If you're important to your organization and your team, you may not be a top-100 player, but you may be a very good player for your organization and important to their success and hold more value to them. The big thing is having the respect of your teammates, the people you play against and the coaches. If you have that, that's what is important. A ranking is just a number."
Whether he had made the list or not, Greenway is proud of the role he has on the team and has been a vocal leader in the offseason program. Leadership comes with experience and Greenway has embraced it, both with the ever-changing linebacker room and the team as a whole.
"Our offseason is important to all of us," Greenway said. "I've always made it a point to take part in the offseason program and be around the facility. As I became one of the older veterans, I thought it was important to lead by example and set the tone for the younger guys."
The Vikings have set the standard for offseason program attendance. Many veteran players only show up when they absolutely have to – at mandatory minicamps – but the Vikings had every player in attendance for at least part of the offseason program. Even Jared Allen, who has often worked out on his own in Arizona, observed following shoulder surgery that didn't allowed him to participate. Greenway feels that building the foundation of a Super Bowl champion doesn't begin in Week 1 of the regular season. Games aren't won in May or June, but the participation level of the Vikings during the offseason program was a sign that the players are buying into Leslie Frazier's program and will be hitting the ground running when training camp opens in less than a month.
"When you're part of an organization, they want to know you're all-in," Greenway said. "That's what our organization does, and what we do in the offseason and training camp is geared toward building to a Super Bowl. With the amount of guys we had here, it's indicative of the commitment we have as a team."
As the Vikings prepare to defend their playoff spot from last season, Greenway will be an important part of that quest. He has been recognized by his peers as being a key player for the 2013 season, but he remains focused on team goals, not being in the individual spotlight. While humbled by the recognition, in the big picture of things, he would rather get recognized for leading his team to a Super Bowl than receiving an individual honor.
"It's nice to have it, but it's not the be-all, end-all," Greenway said. "If you have a 10-year career and never made a Pro Bowl, it shouldn't ruin your days in the NFL. It's always nice to get recognized, but all it does it motivate you to live up to that recognition and try harder to do better this year and get our team to the Super Bowl – that's the ultimate goal for everyone here."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for 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.
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