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1st Rounder, Greenway Signs

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1st Rounder, Greenway Signs

Postby Dr. Duran Duran » Fri Jul 28, 2006 12:39 pm

MANKATO, Minn. - Chad Greenway made it clear from the get-go he would not be holding out this season.

"When I was doing the agent (interview) process, I started off by saying, 'I don't want to be a guy that's going to hold out of camp, and we're not going to be too proud as an agent or as a player to hold out,'" Greenway said Thursday after signing a five-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings. "If that's what they're offering, that's what we're going to take."

That attitude allowed the Vikings an unusual bonus around these parts: They got all of their rookies into training camp on time for the first time since 2001.

Greenway, a linebacker out of Iowa, was the No. 17 pick overall. He signed a contract that could be worth up to $13.25 million with roster and performance bonuses on the day Vikings rookies were due to be in Mankato for the team's training camp. Workouts begin for rookies and selected veterans on Friday, while most of the team will report Sunday evening.

"I'm excited to have all of our draft choices here," said coach Brad Childress, entering his first training camp as a head coach. "They'll be able to work the first day."

Last year's No. 17 pick, Georgia linebacker/defensive end David Pollack, signed a five-year deal with Cincinnati worth nearly $13 million and $7.1 million in guaranteed bonuses. Pollack held out for 19 days, though, and the Vikings and Greenway were both eager to avoid a similarly contentious negotiation.

"This is what's supposed to happen," Greenway said. "You're supposed to be at camp on time. This is the way it works. It worked out great for both sides. I'm here, and I get a chance to play football, and that's what it's all about."

The speedy Greenway is expected to challenge for a starting spot on the Vikings' new-look defense. After signing free-agent safety Dwight Smith earlier this week, the soft spot appears to be the linebacking corps, with veterans Napoleon Harris, E.J. Henderson, Dontarrious Thomas and Ben Leber all in the mix.

"I'm not going to worry about all that stuff because that will take care of itself by doing it on the field," Greenway said.

The Vikings signed second-round quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to a four-year deal on Wednesday night, and Greenway was the final rookie to sign.

Last season, defensive end Erasmus James held out for 10 days before signing a five-year deal worth about $10 million as the No. 18 pick. James had an unimpressive rookie season.

Receiver Troy Williamson, the team's other first-round selection last year, picked No. 7 overall, missed two days of camp before signing a five-year deal with $13.3 million in guaranteed money. Williamson also contributed little as a rookie.

Thomas held out in 2004, fourth-round running back Onterrio Smith held out in 2003 and left tackle Bryant McKinnie missed half of the 2002 season before signing.

Not so this season. Greenway, Jackson, second-round center Ryan Cook, second-round cornerback Cedric Griffin, fourth-round defensive end Ray Edwards and fifth-round safety Greg Blue all are in camp.

"That's the No. 1 thing, just getting here on time," Jackson said. "I wanted to get here and get as many reps as possible and just interact with my teammates. If I get here late, it's not starting off right and I kind of want to start everything off right."

Greenway thought his deal was done Wednesday night, but he said negotiations hit a snag on Thursday morning, which delayed his arrival in Mankato until about 3 p.m.

"I said, 'Just get it done, whatever it takes. I want to be here,'" Greenway said.
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