Emmanuel Lamur needs to beat out Chad Greenway
By Dan Zinski
Emmanuel Lamur and Chad Greenway are battling for the Minnesota Vikings’ starting weakside linebacker position.
No offense to Chad Greenway, but I hope he loses his camp battle with Emmanuel Lamur.
I fully appreciate the value Greenway brings as a veteran leader and stabilizing influence but at the same time, imagine how good the Vikings’ linebacker corps could be if Lamur turns out to be the real deal.
Imagine if, instead of the old, slow Greenway out there, the Vikings had a young, athletic, versatile player to mix in with Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks. Emmanuel Lamur could very well be that player.
Mike Zimmer clearly sees something in Lamur, a player he coached in Cincinnati and encouraged Rick Spielman to bring in as a free agent. Lamur signed relatively early in free agency for 2 years at $5.5 million with $2.45 million guaranteed. Greenway wasn’t brought back until several weeks later, and only received a one-year deal including just $750,000 in guaranteed money.
Lamur played strongside linebacker in Cincinnati but Zimmer made it clear from the start that, with the Vikes, he would be playing the Will.
Lamur believes that playing on the weakside will free him up to make use of his speed and athleticism (via Minneapolis Star Tribune):
"“It gives me the ability to do what I’m good at, which is going to the ball and being instinctive and being free,” Lamur said. “I won’t be touched as much, especially with the good defensive tackles that we have here.”"
One of the Vikings’ top priorities this year is getting better at defending the run and Lamur could help them do that.
Greenway certainly showed last year that he has plenty of guts and guile and can still make a big play on occasion, but when it comes to chasing ball carriers and consistently making tackles, the aging veteran just doesn’t have enough gas left in the tank. Too often, Greenway winds up getting there a step late and having to throw himself futilely at someone’s ankles.
At this point, Greenway is only able to function because he knows how to position himself and anticipate things and play angles. If he loses another half-step, those tricks won’t help him anymore.
The 27-year-old Lamur may not have a Greenway-like list of accomplishments at this point but with more coaching from Zimmer and company, he could emerge as a legitimate player. He does have 15 career starts under his belt so he’s not totally green. However, he is learning a different position and that could take a little time.
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Right now, reliable Greenway is still above Lamur on the depth chart but with any luck that will change come training camp. It’s all up to Lamur to show Mike Zimmer and George Edwards that he has what it takes to start.
Greenway’s return to the Vikings for an 11th season was a nice feel-good story for a minute but to borrow a phrase from our own head coach, the feel-good story is over. I’m not trying to run Greenway out of town, I’m just excited to see what Emmanuel Lamur can bring to the defense.
I know what Chad Greenway has, and I just don’t think it’s enough anymore. So bring on the young guy.