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Is Chad Greenway Being Phased Out?

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It appears that the long time stalwart LB is strictly a base 4-3 linebacker now, playing in only 16 snaps yesterday

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Chad Greenway has been a fixture of the Minnesota Vikings defense since 2007. After missing his rookie season in 2006 due to a torn ACL in pre-season, he has started 125 of 126 possible games, has been a tackling machine, and solid presence for a defense that until recently had too few of them.

But it's no secret that Greenway's play in recent seasons has slipped, and last year, it felt like we might have seen his last season in purple and gold. But Greenway and the VIkings re-structured his contract, allowing him to play it out through the 2015 season, which he has said will most likely be his last.

After a week one performance that saw him post PFF (Pro Football Focus) negative numbers (-2.8 overall) while playing 63 of 73 defensive snaps, his play was substantially curtailed against the Lions, as he saw the field in only 16 of 78 snaps. Yet once again, he tallied a negative PFF rating of -0.4 overall.

For his entire career, Greenway has been a guy that was on the field for everything, as he was a starter in both the base 4-3 and in the nickel sets the Vikings run. It was also that way last week against the 49ers, but it appears he has been relegated to just the base 4-3 set now. By comparison, Gerald Hodges saw 28 snaps, Anthony Barr, 75, and rookie second round pick Eric Kendricks, 53.

According to PFF, Kendricks didn't have a great game, getting a -2.7 overall rating, but anecdotally, at least to me, it seemed like he was in position to make a play, and he did register 3 tackles and one quarterback hit. There were no reported injuries for Greenway that I saw, so it appears he's been supplanted as the SLB in the nickel, at least for now. Could he move back to the nickel next week? Yes, as it could've just been a matchup issue the Vikings liked more with Barr and Kendricks, but it could mean something more.

Either way, I'll be interested to see what Mike Zimmer has to say about the situation in his weekly press conference, if he says anything at all. I would bet there's more to follow on this, and if there is, we'll be sure to get the information to you.