Vikings face key decisions on defensive free agents before 2016 season


Now that their season has come to an end, the Minnesota Vikings will shift their focus to the offseason. That means the NFL Scouting Combine, the draft and free agency.

With Adrian Peterson, Teddy Bridgewater, Anthony Barr, Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph and Harrison Smith safely under contract for 2016, some major decisions are at least a year down the road.

But that's not to say there won't be some tough ones to make this year.

"The team is going to be different next year," Smith told 1500 ESPN. "But I imagine we'll have a lot of carryover. That foundation, I think, should help us moving forward."

The Vikings have 17 free agents – 11 of them on defense – headlined by linebacker Chad Greenway, 32, and 37-year-old cornerback Terence Newman.

Greenway, who was the first round pick of the Vikings in 2006, has had an impressive 10 seasons in Minnesota. The Iowa standout and South Dakota native was a two-time Pro Bowler and three-time Vikings defensive MVP (2010, 2012, 2013).

He has also been highly praised for his off-the-field accomplishments, earning the Vikings nomination for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

But Greenway told 1500 ESPN Sunday that he hasn't given a lot of thought to his future.

"We've been on such a groove this season. It's just been a lot of fun with this football team and seeing how things have gone throughout the course of the year. It's been such a privilege and honor to play on this team, specifically.

Whether or not Greenway is back in Minnesota, he seems determined not to retire.

"That's a decision that's going to have to come," Greenway said. "I'm going to play football. I got to play one more year. It can't, it just can't seem to end like this. It's a hard one."

Will he be back, or won't he? The Daily Norseman notes if Greenway does come back for another season it would most likely be on a one year, incentive laden vet minimum deal.

In addition to Greenway, the Vikings will also have to decide what to do with Newman and safety Andrew Sendejo. With Trae Waynes likely to push for a starting spot at corner, one option the Vikings could consider is moving Newman to safety, where he filled in when the Vikings defensive backfield was decimated by injury.

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