Chad Greenway officially retired Tuesday during an emotional news conference at Winter Park, while Vikings greats Bud Grant, Paul Krause and Alan Page looked on.
Greenway figures to join them in the Vikings’ Ring of Honor someday — a reward reserved for great players who stand out in Vikings lore.
The 11-year linebacker, who spent his entire career in purple, fits that description. He was a very good player for a very long time, and it’s hard to find any Vikings fan that has anything negative to say about him. Achieving all of those things in modern sports is not easy.
As rare as it is, though, to find an athlete who spends an entire career with one team, Minnesota sports has had its share. Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek with the Twins immediately come to mind, as does Scott Studwell — another Vikings linebacker, like Greenway. There are more, of course.
There are also several current athletes who have already played 10 or more years with just one Minnesota team. Let’s take a look at them and assess their chances of keeping that up through retirement:
Joe Mauer, Twins (entering 14th season): He’s the longest-tenured local pro athlete with one team, having made his MLB debut April 5, 2004 — two weeks shy of his 21st birthday. Now almost 34, Mauer has won three batting titles and an MVP award. He’s amassed admirers and critics, the latter growing in recent years thanks to a large contract and diminishing production. Chance he retires a Twin? Very good. Mauer still has two years left on his eight-year contract, which carries with it a no-trade clause. It’s hard to picture him playing anywhere but Minnesota.
Glen Perkins, Twins (entering 12th season): Perkins has appeared in games with the Twins in every season since 2006. The early years were up-and-down before Perkins settled into being one of the game’s elite closers and a three-time All-Star. A torn labrum in 2016 ended his season after two games, and he’s working to return in 2017. Chance he retires a Twin? Near-certain. Perkins, 34, is a lifelong Minnesotan and figures to end his career with the Twins.
Mikko Koivu, Wild (12th season): It’s almost hard to believe Koivu, a strong two-way center and team captain, has been with Minnesota for 12 years. But here we are. Like Mauer, he’s had his share of critics. But he’s in the midst of a very good season (48 points, plus-28 entering Tuesday). Chance he retires with the Wild? Good. He only has one season left after this one on a seven-year deal, but it’s easy to see a scenario where the Wild extends Koivu, who turns 34 on Sunday, for a few more seasons and he finishes his career here.
Seimone Augustus, Lynx (11 seasons): Augustus, who turns 33 next month, has been a key part of three WNBA championship teams while also remaining a link to the years when the Lynx weren’t a perennial contender. She’s scored more than 5,000 points in a great career. Chance she retires with the Lynx: Very good. There’s little financial incentive for players to change teams in the WNBA, and it’s hard to imagine a player not wanting to be on the Lynx right now.
Adrian Peterson, Vikings (10 seasons): Peterson will go down as an all-time great Vikings player and will retire as one of the NFL’s greatest running backs. His prime was a sight to behold, particularly his 2012 season when he amassed 2,097 rushing yards after a major knee injury the year before. Chance he retires a Viking: Highly questionable. Peterson is a free agent this season, and while there is still a decent chance he returns to the Vikings, it seems just as likely (if not more) that he winds up elsewhere in 2017.