Zimmer says he would welcome Greenway back
MINNEAPOLIS--If Chad Greenway decides not to retire, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer gladly would take him back. The linebacker had talked about 2016 likely being his last season. After Sunday's 38-10 win over Chicago in the finale, he said he would ta...
MINNEAPOLIS-If Chad Greenway decides not to retire, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer gladly would take him back.
The linebacker had talked about 2016 likely being his last season. After Sunday's 38-10 win over Chicago in the finale, he said he would take a few weeks before making his decision.
"I love Chad," Zimmer said. "I think he's a tremendous player, a tremendous locker room guy. I think Chad is the one that needs to make that decision. I mean, I think I'm going to talk to him (Tuesday), I believe. But I would love to have him back."
Greenway held onto his starting job in 2016 but usually came out on passing downs. In an Oct. 3 game against the New York Giants, he played a career-low two snaps.
Although Greenway might need to be replaced, there might not be a lot of changes made next season on defense for the Vikings. They were third in the NFL in total defense.
Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd was projected to be a starter for a third straight year, but he suffered a knee injury in the opener and didn't play again. Floyd is under contract for next season for a pricey $6.76 million, making it unlikely he would return for that amount.
"We're evaluating everything right now,'' Zimmer said.
Eye problems blown out of proportion
Zimmer said talk during the season about his eye problems was blown out of proportion.
Zimmer had four surgeries in November and December after scratching his right eye during an Oct. 31 game at Chicago. He sat out Dec. 1 against Dallas following emergency eye surgery the night before and returned Dec. 11 at Jacksonville while coaching with a patch over his eye.
"Honestly, I know you guys made a big deal about this eye thing, but I mean I may have worked one hour less than I normally work, you know, after those surgeries,'' Zimmer said Tuesday in his season-ending news conference.
Zimmer said his eye problems played no role in him not leading the Vikings the way he had wanted during a disappointing 8-8 season.
"It wouldn't have anything to do with it,'' Zimmer said. "There were a couple times I didn't meet with the defense and watch some film, maybe a 30-minute session because I wasn't supposed to look up. That's just a couple times."
Zimmer's first two surgeries were in November to repair a torn retina. He had surgeries Nov. 30 and Dec. 2 to repair a detached retina.
After returning to the sideline against the Jaguars, Zimmer said he would need another surgery in three to four months and "probably when they do that hopefully I'll be able to see OK.''
Kicker, punter will be brought in
The Vikings are bringing in competition at kicker and punter.
The team signed kicker Marshall Koehn and punter Taylor Symmank to futures contracts. Minnesota kicker Kai Forbath is under contract for next season, but punter Jeff Locke is an impending free agent, so it's possible Symmank could be his replacement.
The Vikings also signed to a futures deal tackle Reid Fragel, who has played in one NFL game since being drafted out of Ohio State by Cincinnati in the seventh round in 2013.
Forbath replaced Blair Walsh during the season and made 15 of 15 field-goal attempts in seven games but just 11 of 14 extra points. He is under contract next season for a nonguaranteed $775,000.
The Vikings brought Symmank, who averaged 46.0 yards gross per punt when he last played for Texas Tech in 2015, in for a rookie minicamp last May and considered signing him to compete against Locke. They did not, and Locke averaged 39.0 yards net. He struggled in the last five games, however, averaging just 32.6 yards net. He is in line to become a free agent in March.
Zimmer expressed confidence in wide receiver Laquon Treadwell even though the first-round pick caught just one pass as a rookie. "I see too many good qualities from him to believe that he's not going to be a good player," Zimmer said.
Zimmer declined to discuss what was wrong with guard Mike Harris, who spent the entire year on the non-football illness list. "I honestly don't think I should divulge this,'' Zimmer said. "I mean, it's kind of a freak thing that happened and so we are trying to get it taken care of."