The Minnesota Vikings have used their franchise tag on linebacker Chad Greenway, the team announced Monday.
Greenway, who led the team with 144 tackles this season, is seen by the Vikings as a centerpiece of a defense facing offseason changes.
"Chadâs an important part of our team and his play speaks for itself,â Vikings coach Leslie Frazier told the team's official site. âHeâs productive and has continued to improve each year he has been in the NFL. Heâs a leader for us in the locker room and on the field."
With the Vikings placing the franchise tag on Greenway, the team will look at other methods of retaining key free agents. A team source indicated that the club has not given up on trying to sign wide receiver Sidney Rice to an extension prior to March 4.
However, as we have been reporting, the Vikings anticipate defensive end Ray Edwards to become a free agent whenever the new league year begins. The team is not hopeful about retaining him.
"I'm happy to know that the Vikings value me enough to make this move," Greenway said. "It's been a goal of mine since getting drafted to play with the Vikings my whole career. I think we're one step closer to that now. ... I feel like the team has a bright future and I want to be a part of that."
The team does not intend to use the transition tag for now, according to a league source.
As the Vikings' designated franchise player, Greenway is set to be tendered a one-year guaranteed contract that will pay him 120 percent of last yearâs salary or the average of the top five highest-paid linebackers, whichever is higher.
The NFL Players Association has rejected the use of the franchise tag, and it remains to be seen whether or not it will be a part of the next collective bargaining agreement, although many expect it to be.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.