The Minnesota Vikings have a lot of questions and uncertainty surrounding their linebackers in the 2013 off-season. Only one starter from 2012, Chad Greenway, is signed to a long-term contract. The other two, Jasper Brinkley and Erin Henderson, are unrestricted free agents as of March 12th. I’m of the belief that one of these two will not be back.
In this article we’ll take a look at Henderson. He’s a career-long Viking (five seasons), and has been nothing but solid during his tenure in Minnesota. Although his pass defense sometimes comes under scrutiny, he’s very proven as a run-stopper in the team’s 4-3 scheme.
The issue up to this point has been the Vikings unwillingness to sign him to a long-term deal. Last off-season he was inked to a one-year contract worth $2 million. I’m sure that Henderson is tired of going through the same old routine every off-season, and could go for a little more stability in his life.
I think it’s pretty simple at this point, if the Vikings don’t offer him a multi-year deal, Henderson will likely walk. I wouldn’t blame him, either. The linebacker is on record as saying that he hopes to stay in Minnesota and that he even wants to buy a house in the area:
“I’ve called Minnesota home, I have a Minnesota driver’s license now, everything. I feel like I’ve built a pretty good foundation here and come a long way in my years that I’ve been a part of this organization. And I appreciate the time and effort they’ve put into me.”
Basically, all signs point to the ball being in the Vikings’ court.
I’m in favor of re-upping Henderson to no more than a three-year deal. He’s only 26, he’ll be affordable and he’s proven to work in the Vikings’ defensive system. The free agent market for linebackers isn’t great, and even if the team drafts a premier linebacker, you can never have enough experienced leaders on a team.
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