We’re just 4 days away from the beginning of a brand new Vikings era with new head coach Mike Zimmer. As he steps in as the 10th coach in franchise history, he’s bringing a new offensive and defensive scheme to training camp in Mankato on Thursday. The leader of the defense, linebacker Chad Greenway, says he’s ready for another season in purple.
Zimmer earned his first head coaching position in January, leaving his defensive coordinator position for the Cincinnati Bengals and replacing then-Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier. Zimmer hired his son Adam as the new linebackers coach -- Zimmer spent the 2013 season as an assistant defensive backs coach for the Bengals, and even at 30, Greenway has been impressed with the younger Zimmer’s demands.
“The reality is, yeah, he’s younger than me, but he’s been in the NFL a long time. His experience from being a GA all the way up to different positions and coaching opportunities, he’s been very good, he’s been successful, and I think his approach with us as a group has been very good so far,” Greenway said. “I’ve been really impressed with, A, his knowledge of the game and, B, his approach from a coaching standpoint; being able to be his own coach and coming off of his dad being a head coach, but he demands a lot and we expect to give it back to him.”
The defensive line has a new look -- 10 of the 17 linemen heading to camp are new Vikings, plus, Jared Allen and Kevin Williams are gone. The offseason helped foster the team's struggling defense with Linval Joseph, Anthony Barr, Scott Crichton and Shamar Stephen, but the numbers were ugly a year ago.
"It's nice to look at the numbers now and go, "Okay, that's where were were," and now we've got to get a lot better. The reality is, there's a lot of change, a lot of new faces, a new scheme, so we're going to look a lot different than we were a year ago and hopefully that means improving defense," Greenway said.
Greenway sees the changes, however, as adding to the strength of his game.
"It's learning something completely new, honestly, it's more of the scheme I played in college, especially in coverage, so I think it's going to be a good challenge to kind of go back and see what I can do again, and I think it's going to fit into what I can do well."
NOT HIS LAST SEASON
It's Greenway's ninth season with the Vikings, but he's not done.
"I definitely want to play a few more and I hope they're all in purple, I'd love to finish my career here."