The Minnesota Vikings have opted to use the team's franchise tag on linebacker Chad Greenway instead of Sidney Rice or Ray Edwards, the other two free agents it might have made sense to use the tag on this offseason. The team announced the move on Monday afternoon.
"Chad's an important part of our team and his play speaks for itself. He's productive and has continued to improve each year he has been in the NFL," Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said in the team's press release. "He's a leader for us in the locker room and on the field."
The decision to place the franchise tag on Greenway guarantees that he'll be a Viking next season, one way or another, according to the Star Tribune.
The decision by the Vikings means at this point Greenway will be in line to receive a one-year contract offer that is worth the average of the top five salaries at linebacker or 120 percent of the player's 2010 salary, whichever is greater. That would mean Greenway could be in line to make more than $10 million next season. The Vikings also have the ability to discuss a long-term extension with Greenway, while continuing to hold his rights.
Greenway also seems happy with the decision, despite the fact that it limits his options this offseason.
"I would say my initial reaction is I'm excited to be a Viking for at least another year," Greenway told the Star Tribune. "Obviously, I'm hoping to get a long-term deal done when a CBA is reached because I want to be a Viking my whole career. I'm excited to play for Coach Frazier and [linebackers coach] Mike Singletary, Coach Pagac again. I have great teammates and am excited to be here."
The Vikings should also be excited to return Greenway as he hasn't missed a game since his rookie season and is averaging 139 tackles per season.
This is the first time the Vikings have used the franchise tag since locking up Jim Kleinsasser in 2003.