Rookie first round draft choice, Chad Greenway's season ending knee injury has allowed the emergence of a linebacker that few had taken notice of last year. Heath Farwell, a 6 foot, 235 pound, weak side linebacker, as an undrafted rookie free agent that was kept on the practice squad last year, is doing exactly what he has to do to make the active roster for the season opener against the Washington Redskins, Monday , September 11th.
In 2005, the Vikings had an interest in the undrafted free agent, whom while at San Diego State, was named the Ironman player of the year for his special-teams play. Farwell's coaches at SDSU had nicknamed him the “Policeman” for the way the criminal justice major disrupted play in opponent’s backfields. This preseason we have seen testament to the style of play that he had portrayed in college. Not only has he been passionate about his play of special teams, but has become a familiar name to those calling out the numbers and names for tackles on the defensive side of the ball.
Against Baltimore, Farwell finished with nine tackles, a pass deflected and a forced fumble. He lead both teams in tackles for the night. Overall, he leads the Vikings with 22 tackles in three preseason games. All but one of the tackles have been solo.
Farwell is not in uncharted waters as the Vikings make cuts to get down to the required 53 man roster. His comments from last year are probably close to the same this week. “I love special teams,” said Farwell, “I’ve always wanted to be on the field as much as I could. I was on every special teams in high school and college. To be honest with you, special teams is all about effort. Everyone’s pretty much talented in the NFL. The guys who excel are the guys who put the most effort into it. I have to be able to show I can play at linebacker in case of injuries.”
The difference this year, OPPORTUNITY. The squad from last year was full at linebacker. Special teams was the key to making the team. However, this year we may see more of #59 on the turf when the defense takes the field.