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Minnesota Vikings: Re-Signing E.J. Henderson Is the Right Move

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 24: Tight end Logan Paulsen #82 of the Washington Redskins is pulled down by linebacker E.J. Henderson #56 of the Minnesota Vikings and linebacker Chad Greenway #52 of the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth quarter at FedEx Field on December 24, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. The Minnesota Vikings won, 33-26. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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Nick McAndrewsCorrespondent IIIMay 21, 2012

According to Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune, there is a good chance the Vikings will still re-sign Middle Linebacker E.J. Henderson—and that may be the right move for the Vikings going into 2012.

Currently there are two MLBs on the Vikings roster—Jasper Brinkley and rookie Audie Cole. 

Presumably, the reason they have not already signed Henderson is because of his age and concerns with his durability. Sid Hartman said, on the other hand, Henderson hasn't seen the market for his services because he wants too much money.

Henderson was payed $6.7 million in 2011 and wants to be payed the same in 2012—and if it weren't for his age, he could have a point.

Though he did not intercept a single pass, Henderson forced three fumbles and racked up 109 tackles last year. In 2010, he showed similar statistics, recording 105 tackles, forcing and recovering one fumble and intercepting three passes.

Henderson has become a bit of a liability in pass coverage, but he is still just as strong as ever against the run. 

Should the Vikings re-sign him, I wouldn't anticipate it being for the long-term. The team is very shallow at linebacker, particularly with quality at middle linebacker. This means that going with Henderson would just be a stopgap while the team figures out whether or not Brinkley will be able to step in. 

My opinion, at the moment, is that Brinkley is not going to be the best option. Behind wide receiver, middle linebacker will be the most important hole to fill going into the 2013 NFL draft. MLB is the most important position in the Tampa 2 defense, and starting someone without experience could be disastrous.

I realize that Brinkley started for a brief period while Henderson was injured, but after sitting out for all of 2011 with a hip injury, he may not be where he needs to be to start. 

On the flip side, Henderson improved statistically over the last two seasons and has been a leader on defense for the last five seasons. Starting Henderson for another year could provide time to prepare Brinkley for a starting role while having a proven starter on the field. Or, it could give the Vikings the chance to see if they should consider going after a new Mike-backer in the first round of the next draft. 

Hartman seems to think that Henderson might be back in purple in 2012. I do not know how likely this is or is not, but it could be the best option for the team.

 

Follow me on Twitter @McAndrewsSports

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