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Vikings edge rusher Jonathan Greenard already making his presence felt

A group of reporters approached new edge rusher Jonathan Greenard after practice wrapped up on Wednesday afternoon at TCO Performance Center in Eagan.

He politely declined at the time while walking alongside the rest of his position group. They still had some work to do.

A couple of minutes later, Greenard was leading an ab workout on the side of the field, something he has been doing after pretty much every practice since he came into the league.

“When we first started doing it, we probably had a few people out here,” Greenard said. “Now everybody is doing it, and I think that’s brought us so much closer together.”

The routine is something Greenard picked up while playing for the Houston Texans early in his career. Naturally, he decided to bring it with him to the Vikings after signing a four-year, $76 million contract this offseason.

“Why not get a little 10 minutes of abs to knock it out?” Greenard said. “The core is everything. I’ve had core injuries in the past and dealt with that. As we know, if the core is strong, everything else is going to be better, and the injuries are going to go down.”

This is a perfect example of how Greenard’s leadership is already showing up with the Vikings despite the fact that he hasn’t been in Minnesota for very long. The skills as a leader come naturally for him, and while he takes a lot of pride in his production on the field, he takes an equal mount of pride in his ability to get everybody to pull on the same rope.

“Just be myself,” Greenard said. “I really haven’t had to do anything else.”

Maybe the biggest place Greenard’s leadership has shown up is in how he has made it a point to take young edge rusher Dallas Turner under his wing. Suddenly a veteran in the NFL, Greenard sees the seemingly limitless potential that Turner possesses, and he’s invested in squeezing all of the juice out of that orange.

“It’s a responsibility of mine to continue to help develop and become the best version of himself,” Greenard said. “He has too much potential not to. I’ll be spilling all my knowledge to him. He’s a great kid and he’s willing to listen, and that’s the best thing about it.”

There’s a genuine excitement from Greenard when he talks about his future with the Vikings. He’s excited to teach his teammates everything he knows. He’s also excited to learn from defensive coordinator Brian Flores.

“He’s going to dial it up,” Greenard said. “Just having that style makes other teams play on our terms. I love it. I’m all about it.”

The aggressiveness of Flores should help Greenard build on last season, when he posted a career high 12 1/2 sacks. He has developed into an edge rusher that can win with speed on the outside and power on the inside. He also has shown he can be effective wherever he lines up in a formation.

That versatility is a major key to his success.

“It’s an innovative league,” Greenard said. “We’ve got to be able to beat new strategies that offenses are going to continue to throw at us. ”

As for the ab workouts that have become part of his persona, Greenard ensured the Vikings would continue to do them throughout the summer, even as the temperatures continue to rise in training camp.

“I’m a firm believer in doing core,” Greenard said while pausing for dramatic effect. “And having a six pack.”

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