Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway first learned how to tackle on a farm in South Dakota.
Gary Wiepert/Gary Wiepert/Associated Press
The Minnesota Vikings are one of the top teams in the league at 8-3, and the team’s players credit some obscure sources for their success.
Cornerback Xavier Rhodes once had a problem with penalties, but practicing with boxing gloves helped him kick his grabby habits, according to Mark Craig of the Star-Tribune.
In his report, Craig also found out that Rhodes’ fellow cornerbacks Josh Robinson and Captain Munnerlyn have also tried obscure training methods. Robinson has worn blinders on his helmet to help him focus on a receiver in man-to-man coverage, and Munnerlyn did ballet in high school to improve his footwork and body control.
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However, the strangest training method was Chad Greenway’s. The veteran linebacker, who grew up on a farm in South Dakota, built a base for his football skills by wrangling pigs, according to the Star-Tribune.
"I’d say loading pigs as a kid helped," Greenway said, per the Star-Tribune. "You have to get down and move your feet. Tagging calves after they’ve been born. Chasing them, tackling them, getting them down and wrangling them. Then you give them a tag to identify who they are."
Green told Craig that he started wrangling pigs around age 9 or 10. He started with small pigs, then worked his way up to swine that weighed as much as a defensive lineman.
"The bigger pigs are like 280-pounders," Greenway said, via the Star-Tribune. "Loading them is tough. Change of direction, keeping a low center of gravity. Just basic stuff, but I guess it can’t hurt."
Laugh at Greenway’s hog wrangling all you want, but the results are undeniable. It got him into Iowa, where he became a top draft prospect. The Vikings picked him 17th overall in the 2006 NFL draft, and Greenway has gone on to have a very successful professional career.
Greenway has played nearly a decade in the NFL, with two Pro Bowl appearances (2011, 2012) and over 1,000 tackles to show for it.