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Prior to the 2011 NFL season, the Minnesota Vikings had a decision to make. They had three solid young pieces that all had contract coming up, and only had the money to keep one of them in the fold. Those three players were wide receiver Sidney Rice, defensive end Ray Edwards, and linebacker Chad Greenway. The team had a decision to make, and in the end they decided they could do without the chronically injured Rice and Edwards' bad attitude and kept Greenway in purple.
About a year later, it seems fairly obvious that they made the right choice.
After three weeks of the season, the Vikings' first-round selection in the 2006 NFL Draft is tied for third in the National Football League in tackles with 33, and has picked up two sacks as well. Against San Francisco on Sunday, he was everywhere. . .he racked up 13 tackles and a couple of sacks. On one sack he absolutely crushed Alex Smith, who inexplicably decided to hold on to the football despite seeing that Greenway had about a ten-yard free run at him.
Greenway stays on the field in every situation for the Vikings, and while he's not the first name that pops into anyone's head in a discussion of "superstar" linebackers, he does go out there every Sunday and busts his tail for the Minnesota defense. He's shown a genuine enthusiasm for being a part of the Minnesota Vikings' organization, and he's been a favorite with the fans in Minnesota for quite some time as well.
As far as the guys the Vikings let go that summer, they've hardly missed Ray Edwards since he went to the Atlanta Falcons. You could easily make the argument that Brian Robison has done everything that Edwards did when he was in Minnesota and then some. In Rice's case, he has continued to battle injuries, having only played in 9 games in his first season in Seattle. In his 12 games as a Seattle Seahawk, Rice has caught just 40 passes for 575 yards and three scores. Decent numbers, but hardly irreplaceable, and a far cry from what he did in the one season he managed to stay completely healthy for in 2009.
The Vikings' front office has had their share of gaffes over the past couple of seasons, but the decision to keep Chad Greenway in purple during the 2011 off-season is one that they should be given a ton of credit for.