MINNEAPOLIS — Chad Greenway left Sunday’s game for the Minnesota Vikings after taking a hit from a teammate in overtime and didn’t return after Minnesota stopped the Chicago Bears and then won the game with a field goal on the next drive.
The absence had really been a month in the making.
Greenway revealed after the game he had been dealing with a fractured right wrist since Oct. 27.
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“I just got lit up right on the spot,” Greenway said of leaving the game Sunday. “(Andrew) Sendejo cannonballed me. Just dealing with it, just trying to get some wins for this organization.”
Greenway said he sprained the wrist against the New York Giants on Oct. 21 and broke it the following week against the Green Bay Packers. Greenway said the injury affects his grip. Even still, after Sunday’s 23-20 overtime win, Greenway said his wrist is “not the story here.”
“For him to battle the way he’s battled, to show up every day,” Frazier said, continuing. “I asked him one day at practice, I said ‘I know you’re in a lot of pain, you’re wearing that cast.’ I said ‘Why do you do what you do? You could’ve went to the trainers and said ‘I need a week off.’ And he said, ‘Coach, I love playing the game so much, and I want to help this football team in whatever way I can.’ That attitude kind of permeates our entire team, and they want to do whatever they can to help our team be successful.”
Greenway never asked off. He’s been listed on the injury report with the wrist injury, but has continued to practice and hasn’t missed a game.
“This organization has been far too good to the Greenways for me to do that,” Greenway said about not sitting out. “And Fred Pagac says, it’s about four or five 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 and it hasn’t been easy.”
Greenway, who has played in the Pro Bowl each of the past two seasons, leads Minnesota with 115 tackles this season, is tied for the team lead with two interceptions and has four sacks. He tied Sendejo for the team lead with 10 tackles on Sunday and added a sack and three tackles for loss. He also had an interception nullified by a penalty.
Ellison loses the elephant: Minnesota seemingly had chances to put away Sunday’s game earlier, but two miscues by tight end Rhett Ellison were especially costly.
Ellison had a pass go off his hands near the goal line that was intercepted. Later, Blair Walsh hit a 39-yard field goal that appeared to give the Vikings the win, but Ellison was called for a face-mask penalty. After being pushed back by the penalty and a negative run, Walsh missed a 57-yard field goal try.
“I really screwed over the team,” Ellison said of his feelings at the time. “Just made a big mistake. You just try to erase it and move on to the next play. These guys didn’t give up, so I couldn’t give up.”
As for how he felt after Walsh later hit a 34-yard field goal to win the game?
“I don’t even know, the elephant off my back or something,” Ellison said. “Just like, a miracle, I guess. It was an amazing team win. The defense just, I don’t know if I can take them all out somewhere or something.”
Ellison said he was concentrating on Devin Hester on the outside and was called for the facemask on Chris Conte, who was rushing to the inside of Ellison.
“It was the inside guy,” Ellison said. “Obviously my eyes were on Hester because he seemed like more of a threat. So I just threw the inside hand up. It was Conte I hit in the facemask I guess.”
Ellison has just two catches this season but was in a big spot in the fourth quarter, when he lined up outside and then had a pass from Matt Cassel bounce off his hands for the interception.
“I got to catch that ball,” Ellison said. “It’s my fault. It was a perfect ball, perfect. It was man, so we checked the play. Cassel threw it perfectly. Everything worked right, I just got to execute it.”
Walsh makes up for it all: The load was lifted for Ellison and the rest of the Vikings after Walsh hit the game-winner in overtime from 34 yards out.
Even after missing the 57-yarder, Walsh knew he would get another chance.
“I came to the sidelines, looked at Jeff (Locke) and said, ‘It’s gone and done with. We’re going to have a chance to win this game,'” Walsh said after the miss. “Even when Robbie (Gould) was going up for his attempt, I just had a feeling we were going to get another chance and we did. So, we stayed ready the whole time on the sidelines and that helped.”
Gould missed a 47-yarder to give Walsh another chance in overtime. Walsh was 12 of 13 in his career on field-goal attempts from 50 yards or longer before Sunday’s miss.
“(I was) just trying to kill it,” Walsh said. “With the 57, I haven’t hit many long ones this year and haven’t been in the rhythm. So I just tried to overcompensate for something I shouldn’t have.”
Cook ejected: Minnesota cornerback Chris Cook was ejected in the third quarter after allowing a long touchdown to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Cook took issue with an official after the play and made contact with an official, leading to the automatic ejection.
“Yeah, you’ve got to keep your composure, especially at the corner position,” Frazier said. “There are going to be times you get beat; you can’t let that stuff get to you. You’ve got to line up and play the next play at that position.”
Patterson adds another: In a new wrinkle with rookie receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, he lined up in the backfield behind fullback Jerome Felton and scored on a 33-yard carry. Patterson became the first Vikings’ rookie and sixth player ever to score three different ways in a season.
Patterson has two kickoff returns for touchdown and has also caught a pass.
“To be honest, we’ve been practicing (the run) since Week 2 and we’ve never had a chance to use it and the time was called now,” Patterson said. “I’m just trying to be like (Adrian Peterson) back there. I told him, ‘You better watch out, I’m coming through.””
Patterson also had a chance at a return after Gould missed a 66-yard chance at the end of the regulation. Patterson caught the missed field goal nine yards deep in the end zone and had a chance to return for a score, but was tackled at the 22-yard line.
“I wish I could have scored on that missed field goal they had so I could have scored four ways,” Patterson said.
Patterson said he had seen the play in college football a night earlier when Auburn caught a missed field goal and returned for a touchdown to beat top-ranked Alabama. Patterson said he could have scored, but missed a hole and slipped on the play.
“It was the cleats,” Patterson said. “I blame the cleats for that. I’ll try some new cleats this week. I let a big guy tackle me. I feel really disrespectful letting a big guy, 400 pounds, tackle me.”
Jennings was sick: Greg Jennings led the Vikings with seven catches for 78 yards and a touchdown from quarterback Matt Cassel on Sunday. Frazier said he was sick on Saturday with a stomach virus and wasn’t sure Jennings would be able to play on Sunday.
“We didn’t even bring him to the hotel last night,” Frazier said. “Came over this morning, asked him if he thought he was going to be able to go, and he said Coach, ‘I’m going to try to go. I’m going to do the best I can.’ And then he goes out and plays a heck of a football game for us in that second half and the overtime as well with some big plays.”
Jennings had to be called back on to the field in overtime after heading up the tunnel when Walsh had made the first field-goal attempt that was called back because of the facemask penalty on Ellison.
“I didn’t even see the flag,” Jennings said. “I was so ready to get in the locker room. It’s like, ‘ah, man.’ I heard my name being called, ‘Greg we got to go back up there.’ . . . It’s a long day for me today.”