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Greenway leads Vikings' defensive effort

MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway won two prep football state titles in South Dakota and played in four January bowl games as a member of the Iowa Hawkeyes.

There's no question where Sunday's 34-3 blowout win over the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC division playoffs ranks among his personal highlights, though.

"This was the biggest game I've ever played in," the Mount Vernon, S.D., native said. "This is the biggest win I've ever had at any level. You can't put a number on how awesome this is."

Greenway was a big part of a determined Vikings defense that frustrated a Dallas offense that had scored 58 points in the last two weeks. He finished third on the team with six tackles, while adding a sack. Greenway also made an open-field, fourth-down tackle on tight end Jason Witten to force a turnover on downs, sealing the game in the fourth quarter.

The Vikings became the first team to hold the Cowboys out of the end zone this season. The three points marked Dallas' lowest offensive output since a 26-3 loss to Cincinnati on Nov. 7, 2004.

"We knew they were a good team - nobody had to say anything about it," Greenway said. "The hype machine is what it is. They're the Dallas Cowboys. Everybody loves the Dallas Cowboys. We just had to come in and play our game.

"We've put periods of play together like we did today, but we've never done it for four quarters. What better time to do it than today?"

The Vikings will play the New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Greenway, the team's leading tackler, said he doesn't recall Minnesota's last two NFC Championship game appearances in 1999 and 2001. He would have been in high school during both of them.

Minnesota lost to the Atlanta Falcons in overtime in the first game and got blown out by the New York Giants in the other.

"I probably watched them but I don't remember them," he said. "I'm excited to be there for the first time. It's a great opportunity for us. I'm extremely excited."

Greenway said the defensive game plan will change quite a bit for the Saints.

"They bring a completely different set of weapons to the table," he said. "Drew (Brees) has done a great job all year directing that unit. They're also going to have home-field advantage, which is big. They are an extremely good team and they've proved it all year long on offense, defense and special teams. We're going to go down there and give it our best effort."