Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Context needed: Greenway's 'super duper drunk' comment not that big a deal

Posted by: under Vikings, Packers, Vikings players, Chad Greenway Updated: December 6, 2012 - 1:17 PM

Allow us to offer you a little something that's sadly too hard to come by in the 2012 "journalism" machine. Context coupled with level-headed perspective. (And yes, we heard that astounded gasp all the way over here.)

By now, you might know that Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway has taken some heat in recent days and has felt obligated to apologize for an off-the-cuff joke he made in the locker room following last Sunday's 23-14 loss in Green Bay.

Here's how it all went down. Just because we feel you deserve to know.

The Vikings had absorbed a brutal loss to the Packers in a game they probably should have won. It was a defeat that likely put an end to the team's playoff chances. From the second the visiting locker room doors opened at Lambeau Field, you could tell the agitation inside was raw.

As many Vikings players stood around and answered the usual barrage of postgame questions, Greenway was approached by three local reporters: myself, Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan and 1500ESPN's Tom Pelissero.

A minute or so in, a cameraman from a local Green Bay TV station jumped into the mix.

Greenway -- as he always does after a triumphant win or galling loss -- stepped up to offer his take on the loss. It was, as more postgame locker room exchanges should be, a candid and casual back-and-forth without inane formulaic questions or pre-packaged cliche answers. (Imagine that!)

Two minutes in, Greenway was asked whether the Vikings' Week 14 game with Chicago essentially became the game for the entire season.

"Yeah," he affirmed. "I think it is. You look at it with the travel coming up after that, why not call it that? And we have to play accordingly. I mean our fans have to show up accordingly, which we know they will. Hopefully they're super duper drunk."

Greenway shrugged. The three of us chuckled. Harmless humor.

"You know what," the linebacker continued, "if you look at it that way, it's 'You've got to win the game. Let's go win the game.' That's just what it's got to be. It's got to be our approach during practice during the week. Our coaches need to coach that way. Our players need to play that way. Our scouts need to scout that way. You just go win the game. You have to win the game. So sell out. That's the approach it's got to be. So drink liquor not beer."

Souhan chimed in with a laugh: "Is that a noon game? So you're advocating like morning drinking essentially?"

Responded Greenway: "Yeah. I mean. Morning drinking? Why not? You could pull an all-nighter. Then you'd have the drunk, tired guys who are really obnoxious."

Souhan: "But then they'll all fall asleep in the second quarter."

Greenway: "We'll just have to give them a reason to stay up."

And off the conversation went into a discussion of Aaron Rodgers' brilliant mobility.

Yet somehow this is the exchange that has caused a tornado of hullabaloo in the last couple days. Hand-plucked out of the interview with no understanding for the tone or setting of the conversation. Blogs have run wild with Greenway's quote as a way to fuel the chatter machine. That includes The Huffington Post and Fox Sports' Yardbarker blogs.

Oh, and Pro Football Talk wants Greenway to be fined. Seriously.

Hey, when a standout athlete encourages the fans to drink, it makes for a sexy headline that will generate a flood of Internet clicks. Even if much of the accompanying commentary is too much of a breathless overreaction.

Now? ESPN has made Greenway's comments a national headline with a story linked off its front page on The story's headline: 'Chad Greenway wants drunk 'Dome'

This coming four days after Greenway spent 23 seconds trying to lighten a depressed mood after a tough loss.

Today, during a radio interview with ESPN-1000 in Chicago, Greenway addressed the comments.

"Obviously, I could have used some more responsible words," Greenway told hosts Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman. "I think the people that know me, the beat writers included, know that I said that sort of tongue-in-cheek. I just wanted the fans at home to be loud like they always are. I think just trying to drive that point home I probably got a little loose with my words. Obviously should have been a little more responsible with it. It was said so what do you do?"

Kudos to Greenway for taking that tone and growing neither defensive nor overly apologetic.

And we wonder why there's an increasingly reticent relationship amongst reporters and players across sports today.


St. Louis 2
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Miami 7 FINAL
Washington 11
Detroit 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Minnesota 6 FINAL
Baltimore 5
NY Yankees 7 FINAL
Houston 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 2
Cincinnati 8 FINAL
LA Angels 6
Chicago Cubs 7 FINAL
Kansas City 0
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
San Francisco 11
Chicago WSox 4 FINAL
Cleveland 1
Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Oakland 7
Seattle 5 FINAL
San Diego 8
Texas 5 FINAL
Los Angeles 10
Colorado 11 FINAL
Arizona 10
Arizona 1 FINAL
Colorado 2
Houston 99 FINAL
Washington 91
LA Lakers 99 FINAL
Brooklyn 107
Minnesota 88 FINAL
New Orleans 110
Philadelphia 86 FINAL
Cleveland 87
Detroit 102 FINAL
Miami 109
LA Clippers 119 FINAL
Boston 106
Dallas 99 FINAL
Indiana 104
Memphis 89 FINAL
San Antonio 103
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Phoenix 97
Washington 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 2
Calgary 5 FINAL
Nashville 2
Boston 2 FINAL(OT)
Carolina 1
Detroit 4 FINAL
NY Islanders 5
Florida 4 FINAL
Ottawa 2
Anaheim 2 FINAL
New Jersey 1
Chicago 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
San Jose 2 FINAL(SO)
Pittsburgh 3
Michigan State 76 FINAL
Louisville 70
Gonzaga 52 FINAL
Duke 66
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Toronto FC 1 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
(7) Florida State 74 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 80
Villanova 70 FINAL
West Virginia 75
Michigan 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 60
Temple 69 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 57
Siena 50 FINAL
Louisiana 52
St Marys-CA 66 FINAL
(5) Baylor 68 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 77
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9




question of the day

Poll: What should the Vikings do with Adrian Peterson?

Weekly Question