By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Training camp starts Thursday and Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway has had one of those years where he has seen everything — a life-changing contract, a trip to the pro bowl, a 3-13 season and one of his biggest fans, his father, seriously ill.

We sat down to reflect on football and what dad means to Chad.

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Football first: training camp.

“This is going to be the most important training camp we’ve ever had,” he said. “We are going to need to accomplish the most in this three weeks comin’ up…because we need to go a further distance in that time than we ever have before.”

If the Green Bay Packers are the standard of a good division, then some things have to change for the Vikings.

“Just finishing halves, finishing quarters, finishing drives…it’s going to get us four or five more wins,” Greenway said. “And if you can get four or five more wins in the NFL…you’re in the mix, whether you’re a young team or not.”

Now to the personal: Dad and his influence on Chad.

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Greenway nearly lost his father to illness this summer.

“My dad is such a special guy,” Greenway said. “He just embodies what being a great dad and a great husband…mean.”

Greenway said that some might see his father as just a farmer. But Greenway said he’s also a humanitarian and plays a huge role in the lives of all his family members.

When Greenway was growing up in small town South Dakota, there was a reason he excelled beyond natural talent. That reason was his parents.

“What you do and how much money you make, those aren’t important things,” Greenway said. “What really matters is what you embody.”

Greenway said his father taught him how to be “the right kind of man, the right kind of husband, the right kind of dad.”

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“And that’s who I want to be,” he said. “I’ll make him more proud doing those things than I ever could in football.”

Mike Max