Greenway's big game carried added meaning

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER and KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: September 24, 2012 - 11:26 PM
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Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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Chad Greenway's statistics Sunday were, frankly, inspiring. That shouldn't be a surprise, given his inspiration. Against San Francisco, with his father, Alan, looking on, Greenway led the Vikings in solo tackles (10) and total tackles (13), sacks (two) and quarterback hits (two).

He also had a tackle for loss.

"It was certainly fun," he said. "For me, it had a bunch of added greatness: My dad was able to make the game."

Alan Greenway was diagnosed with leukemia in May. Chad had to miss most of the team's organized team activities in May and June to be with his father, who struggled with both the disease and the complications that came with its treatment. At the team's mandatory minicamp in June, Greenway said his father's leukemia was in remission.

Still, Sunday was the first time this season Alan Greenway was in attendance for a Vikings game. Monday, he was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for a checkup.

"I knew I wasn't going to leave anything in the tank, that's for sure," Chad Greenway said. "Not that I ever really do. But you know, I wanted it to be special. Nobody in this building knew he was going to be there besides me. I'm just so happy the way it turned out."

Hold on

Toby Gerhart's first fumble Sunday was troubling enough. The Vikings were protecting a 24-13 lead with less than 4 minutes left, needing only to protect the ball and grind clock to close out an impressive upset. Yet on a run with 3 minutes, 33 seconds left, Gerhart had the ball stripped, and it was recovered by the 49ers.

After the Vikings got the ball back, Gerhart coughed it up again on his next carry. This time, he recovered it himself. But two plays later, he fumbled again, the ball stripped by Ahmad Brooks with cornerback Carlos Rogers recovering for the 49ers.

For the record: three fumbles (two lost) within 1 minute, 43 seconds of game time.

Before Sunday, Gerhart had 201 career rushing attempts and 47 catches with four fumbles total.

No wonder his sudden ball-security issues had his coaches surprised.

"We've been through that situation a bunch of different times,'' coach Leslie Frazier said. "With four minutes, we know we have to protect the football, and they're trying to take the ball away. We trust Toby to protect the ball in that situation, and he usually does."

Open and shut

Quarterback Christian Ponder realizes he probably had an easier throw to make than the contested 2-yard touchdown pass he lobbed to Kyle Rudolph early in the fourth quarter Sunday. Running back Adrian Peterson was uncovered and wide open from the snap. But Ponder didn't notice Peterson until looking back at the film.

"There was no one there; it was unbelievable," Ponder said. "I mean, they completely dropped coverage."

Peterson didn't say anything after the play.

"But you could see him waving his arms on the film," Ponder said. "I think if we wouldn't have completed that pass, he probably would have been a little upset."

Lane control

One of the Vikings' few blemishes Sunday was the kickoff coverage in the second half. Kyle Williams opened the half with a 94-yard return to the Vikings 14 and later added a 50-yard return. That was a rare lapse for a unit that in Weeks 1 and 2 hadn't allowed a return past the 25.

"We didn't stay in our lanes," Frazier said. "We had some guys who were not where they should have been."

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