Chad Greenway has practiced with a bulky wrap on his right wrist for more than a month. The Vikings linebacker revealed after a 23-20 overtime victory against the Chicago Bears on Sunday that he suffered multiple fractures in his wrist more than a month ago.
Greenway said he initially sprained it against the Giants on Oct. 21 and then suffered the fracture the following week in a loss to the Packers. He has been listed on the injury report, but he has not missed a game, which he tried to downplay in the postgame locker room.
“It’s not the story here,” he said.
Greenway banged his wrist in overtime when he collided with safety Andrew Sendejo while making a tackle on running back Matt Forte.
“I just got lit up right on the spot,” he said. “Sendejo cannonballed me.”
He was asked why he doesn’t take time to allow his wrist to heal since the Vikings have a losing record.
“This organization has been far too good to the Greenways for me to do that,” he said. “And as [linebackers coach] Fred Pagac says, it’s about 4 or 5 feet from my heart, so keep playing. These guys in this locker room, as trying as this season has been, I love these guys in here and we’ve been playing for each other.”
Greenway, second on the team in tackles, admitted that his injury has affected his performance.
“It’s been difficult with my grip especially,” he said.
He had another big play negated by a penalty on nickel back Robert Blanton for a second consecutive game. An offsides penalty on Blanton nullified an interception by Greenway in the first quarter. A holding penalty by Blanton wiped out a third-down sack by Greenway against the Packers last week.
Not only did Erin Henderson lose his starting middle linebacker job to Audie Cole, but he didn’t even play. Henderson was active but didn’t see the field.
“It was more about Audie,” coach Leslie Frazier said when asked about Henderson’s lack of playing time. “I thought he played another good ballgame. I’ll take a look at the tape to verify it, but everything that I saw from the sideline, he looked like he did everything that we would want in that position, so good job by Audie Cole.”
Henderson’s recent drunken driving arrest came to light last week after he missed the Green Bay game because of personal reasons. The coaching staff kept Cole as the starter after his strong performance against the Packers in his first career start.
Cole was credited with nine tackles and one pass breakup against the Bears. He was in the middle of a weird play that resulted in a turnover in the fourth quarter.
Vikings rookie defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd flushed Bears quarterback Josh McCown from the pocket with pressure. McCown tried to flip a pass to Forte, but Cole deflected the ball and Bears guard Kyle Long caught it.
Cole and Floyd converged on Long and stripped the ball, and linebacker Marvin Mitchell recovered it at the Bears 18-yard line.
“I had [Forte in coverage] and I kind of came off him,” Cole said. “I’m really glad it went off my hand because otherwise that was on me. It couldn’t have worked out any better even though it kind of didn’t go the way it was supposed to go.”
Career day for Jeffery
Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery had three catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns — in the third quarter.
Jeffery had an 80-yard touchdown catch on the second play of the half. Lined up in the slot, he beat Chris Cook, and McCown hit him in stride.
On the next series, Jeffery leaped over Cook going into the end zone for a sensational 46-yard touchdown. An irate Cook made contact with side judge Laird Hayes after the catch and was ejected.
Jeffery added a 19-yard catch on the next drive. He finished with 12 catches for 249 yards and two TDs. He broke his own team record with the 249 yards. He had 218 on Oct. 6 against New Orleans.
“I think we looked up at one point and Jeffery had something like 10 [catches] for 234 [yards] or something stupid,” Greenway said. “You’re like, holy cow. But we were still in the game.”
Auburn Part II
A day after Auburn’s dramatic walk-off 100-yard return on a missed field goal by Alabama, the Vikings attempted to do the same thing.
Bears kicker Robbie Gould attempted a 66-yard field goal with two seconds left in regulation. The Vikings sent rookie Cordarrelle Patterson deep in case the kick came up short.
The kick fell short and Patterson caught the ball 9 yards deep in the end zone. But unlike Auburn’s Chris Davis, who returned Alabama’s missed field goal for a winning touchdown, Patterson only made it to his own 22-yard line.
Patterson felt he could have scored if he had followed his blockers.
“That’s all they said on the sideline, ‘You should have followed us,’ ” he said. “I tried to set it the wrong way and go the other way. The thing was there, but I put it all on me. I think I could have scored.”