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Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has gotten less than raving reviews for his first NFL Draft but for one former star linebacker, one night doesn’t necessarily define a team’s fate, especially as a new — and promising — regime takes over.
Former Minnesota linebacker Chad Greenway, who spent his entire 11-year career with the Vikings, told Fox News Digital in a recent interview that while he too was rather confused with the decision to trade over two picks to NFC North rivals, history has shown that “guys miss on drafts all the time.”
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“There’s a couple of people you can’t trade with in the world, the Lions and the Packers — right, if you’re a Vikings fan. So that trade goes down, and we give up that ticket in the first round and they go get a receiver and now with all that being said we get to go cover that receiver now for the next 10 years which is really interesting.”
Chad Greenway #52 of the Minnesota Vikings runs down the sideline after an interception during the first half of the game on November 6, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
“The new regime is exciting. I think what you do with Kwesi and with Coach (Kevin) O’Connell is you bring in a new staff that’s exciting, that people are really excited to be a part of and be behind, but then it comes with question marks. It comes with question marks in experience and other questions,” Greenway continued. “So you go through the draft and, for all intents and purposes, the national pundits have said this was a really negative draft, and they didn’t give it a very good grade, but I know from experience that doesn’t always mean that that’s the answer. Right? We know that guys miss on drafts all the time even in the high picks, so we just need to let this thing take its course. Let’s see what happens. Give these kids an opportunity to prove what they’re worth and what they’re value is.”
The Vikings selected former Georgia safety Lewis Cine with the No. 32 overall pick. The Vikings traded down from the No. 12 selection with Kyle Hamilton, who was considered one of the best safeties in the draft, still on the board at the time. For Greenway, he’s confident with the direction Minnesota went in.
Georgia Bulldogs DB Lewis Cine (16) celebrates with Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart and ESPN host Rece Davis after the Alabama Crimson Tide versus the Georgia Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff National Championship, on January 10, 2022, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.
(Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
“I had a chance to meet Lewis Cine, our first-round pick from Georgia. Just a really impressive, really impressive guy.”
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Greenway acknowledged that the road ahead will no doubt be a challenging one but for the Vikings, who have missed the playoffs for the second year in a row and have failed to earn a division title since his last season with the team (2017), change can be good.
“The reality is that it’s a culture shift, and I’ve talked to some of the active players, and they were really excited about the foundation that was being built in the offseason and that coach O’Connell was being very, very upfront about ‘hey, yes we need to talk X’s and O’s and football but let’s really get to know each other first. Let’s understand what we’re actually trying to accomplish and have a real goal in mind and work towards that same goal.'”
O’Connell was named head coach after serving as the Los Angeles Rams’ offensive coordinator last season. He replaced Mike Zimmer who started with the team in 2014.
Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears is tackled by Chad Greenway #52 of the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter of a game at Soldier Field on November 16, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
“I was really impressed by his ability to coach defense, his ability to motivate and how he’s a little bit of a throwback,” Greenway said of Zimmer, who he spent three seasons with. “And I appreciate that coming from my background from the guys that coached me. And I love and can react to that, but he wasn’t for everybody and I think his approach was very aggressive …It’s a little more pressure and a little more serious and that’s fine. I could adapt because I had been in the league for nine years already. I could adapt and adjust, but a lot of other guys couldn’t, and it was hard for them and I could understand that.”
Zimmer coached the Vikings to first in the NFC North in just his second year as head coach but after a 2-3 record in the playoffs and two back-to-back losing seasons, Minnesota had made the decision to move on after eight years.
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“I think he’s a very good football coach — an elite football coach, an elite football mind — and at the end of the day is a great guy that I loved playing for.”
Greenway also spoke to Fox News Digital about a new recruitment platform called Signing Day Sports he partnered up with which aims to make the recruitment process easier for athletes to get discovered and recruited by coaches using a unique digital ecosystem.
Chad Greenway #52 of the Minnesota Vikings is introduced before the game against the Chicago Bears on January 1, 2017 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
“I put myself back in my 17 and 18-year-old shoes. A small town South Dakota kid, it was just impossible to get recruited. I grew up in a town of about 400 people. I graduated with 26 kids in my class … For any college to come recruit me was an uphill battle,” he said.
“This is, in a sense, making the process a little cleaner — a little more visible to everybody and also forcing people, in my opinion, to do it the right way and I love the fact that folks can control their own process. That was something that was really important.”