Dec 15, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway (52) warms up before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Is Chad Greenway In Danger Of Being Cut?


A big-name Viking defensive player could find his head on the chopping block as the team seeks to re-tool, while loading up on valuable cap space, after a dismal effort in 2013.

It’s been a busy offseason already for Rick Spielman as he and new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer seek to re-work a talent-deprived roster.

The Vikes originally had 13 guys set to hit free agency, including such notables as Kevin Williams, Jared Allen and Everson Griffen, but that number swelled to 15 when both Matt Cassel and Charlie Johnson had their contracts voided last week.

Erin Henderson is on the street after being outright released in the wake of his two DUI arrests.

And there could be more cuts coming in the near future, Rick Spielman has indicated.

Spielman discussed the roster situation with reporters Friday. He talked about potentially bringing in free agents, then said somewhat portentously, “We will look at moving on from some players, too, that may currently be under contract. So there is going to be a lot of moving parts.”

The Vikings are already in a healthy situation cap-wise – they possess the fourth-most cap space in the league by current projections – but they could free up even more cap room by moving on from some high-priced veterans.

One man who comes up more and more in speculation about potential cuts is linebacker Chad Greenway.

Greenway is set to count $8.2 million against the Vikings’ cap in 2014, $3.4 million of which is dead money. Outright releasing Greenway would save $4.8 million against the cap this year.

The fact is that Greenway’s performance the last couple years has not been in line with his high salary. The Vikings gave him a 5-year, $41 million deal back in 2011, and even then that seemed like a lot. Greenway has not improved since 2011, in fact his performance dipped in 2013 to the point where he became at times an outright liability (despite his gaudy tackling statistics).

Greenway can still muster a good game now and then, enough to remind you of the player we once hoped he might become, but he hasn’t put together enough consistent greatness to justify paying him the $17 million remaining on his deal.

It’s always possible the Vikings could approach Greenway about a re-negotiation, but outright releasing him might be the best course of action given his declining performance and the cap relief such a move would provide.

Greenway is not the only veteran who might be earmarked for release. Letroy Guion, Jerome Felton and John Carlson are also guys you can argue are making too much money given their production/role on the team.

Josh Robinson and Mistral Raymond are both players of dubious value, though cutting them would save you only a negligible amount of money.

Jamarca Sanford is another veteran with a decent-sized contract, but his play the last two years was steady enough to warrant his sticking around, and if he continues developing he could actually be a bargain at $2.7 million for 2014.

No question, Rick Spielman will have some tough calls to make this offseason. Mike Zimmer and DC George Edwards will help him evaluate what is there on the roster and hopefully pinpoint some free agents who might represent upgrades. Then it’s up to Rick to swing the deals.

Goodness knows, the Vikings need a serious talent upgrade, especially on defense. The draft won’t be enough.

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Tags: Chad Greenway Minnesota Vikings

  • Ken Tomlin

    If. They do release him, I’d at least hope they’d try to trade him first. If Greenway would re-do his contract for us, why wouldn’t he re-do it for another team. One who might be closer to making a title run. He’s still good enough to be worth a 3rd-5th rounder, and could be an upgrade/asset to a team in need of LBing help. When he had an above average MLB next to him, he played quite well. With E.J. Next to him and heck even when Cole was there he played better. The Cowboys with Lee at MLB would be a great trade option( if the cowboys weren’t in cap trouble) or the giants or even the Bengals. What do you all think?

  • Don Andrew Halvorson

    He’s the only veteran defensive player worth keeping. No.

    • Ken Tomlin

      Rhodes, Smith, Robison are really the only 3 “starters” worth keeping. If greenway’s was cap hit wasn’t so high he’d be worth keeping, but at over 8 mil. then no.

      • Don Andrew Halvorson

        Are you kidding? He led the team in tackles and interceptions this year. He had almost as many tackles as those three combined. I forgot about Robison, but Rhodes and Smith aren’t veteran. Chad Greenway is on par with Navarro Bowman, not to mention playing through his broken wrist. He is the defense, and you are complete batty if you think we should get rid of him for 5 million on a free agent.

        • Ken Tomlin

          I would NOT advocate just “releasing” him. That would be as big a mistake as releasing Winfield was last year!! RELEASING him is “batty”. I would rather have him lined up next to Mauti/Cole and Hodges. He’s reliable and still a hell of a LB. Maybe, I didn’t state my view clear enough? I just meant that, I’d rather have them trade him, then just release him!! Choice between keeping and paying him: KEEP him! Choice between trading and releasing him:TRADE!

          • Ken Tomlin

            I wouldn’t just get rid of him for a FA. I agree he’s like Bowman. I think we need to focus more on our DB’s then LB. Zimmer did wonders with Burfict in Cin., love to see what he’ll do with Mauti/Cole/Hodges!! I wouldn’t even draft Mack/Barr. If we stay at 8(hope we trade down) take Gilbert or Dennard if no QB is there that we believe in. Of course we need to see who we get in FA. That could change a lot of things!! SKOL VIKES!!

        • Alika Launiu

          Did you just put Greenway and Bowman in the same sentence? really?….Greenway is good but not that good…yeah you can lead a team in tackles but when you’re tackling a guy 10yds downfield, it doesn’t really matter. Smith was hurt most of the season and when he came back he looked good. Rhodes’ upside is tremendous under Zimmer. I think the best thing to do is re-negotiate his contract and let him be a leader for this defense. Cause god knows Allen is a goner.

  • 3kolu

    Part of his problem last year was playing with a broken wrist suffered against Green Bay. And, though he missed a ton of tackles, he still made a ton. The problem will be schematically and that he is not worth $8 million. The Vikings need more speed and someone who can rush the passer, and that’s where Greenway becomes a liability. The formula is complex, but I offer up this scenario. Khalil Mack or Anthony Barr in the 1st, Rashede Hagemann or Louis Nix in the 2nd, trade one of our 3rd rounders for Ryan Mallett or draft Mettenberger or McCarron in the 3rd. Instead of going QB in the 1st. Cole in the middle, Mauti at WLB and bring in Hodges for passing situations.

  • Gordon Guffey

    He is worth keeping because he will be the vets of a young group of LBers and his play hasn’t fallen off that much when you look at the fact he played with a broken wrist most of the season ~ The other thing is how the Vikings handled Allen contract ~ But letting him play it out and then if they let Greenway play out his contract that would be something that would look very good to a FA who might think about singing with the Vikings where the Vikings might want to back load his contract for what ever the reason ~

    Also looking forward no one person here has any idea how well he might play in Zimmer’s offense ~ In fact it could be that Greenway makes the move back to Will where he started out with the Vikings or even move to the middle ~ Bast on a report from ESPN in Zimmer’s defense they could make use of LBers who fit 3~4 defenses ~ Point be is Joy Porter didn’t miss a beat when moving from the Steelers to Cinn. ~

    So just relax ~ Its not your money ~ Let the coaches do their job because they sure have far more insight into what they want than any of us ~ And that my friends is a fact. ~

  • Jake

    Zinski you’re such a fucking dumbass. Greenway is one of the only reliable defenders on this team. He has consistently led the team in tackles for what? The last five years? He led in interceptions, he was good in pass protection, he was good in pass rush, and solid in run support. You’re a fucking retard, as usual. Do us all a favor and shut the fuck up. You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

    • Cool Jack

      Totally agree…I think Jake would be a better writer for these articles! Greenway is a leader and that is something the Vikings surely need.Zimmer I know will bring the best out of this team….

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  • Cool Jack

    Hey Dumb-Ass, do you actually watch the game? ,Greenway is reliable and a fan favorite….Are you a cheesehead?