Despite their needs at inside linebacker, the Minnesota Vikings are not pursuing free-agent linebacker Brian Urlacher, according to head coach Leslie Frazier on NFL AM Wednesday via NFL.com's Kevin Patra.
Here are Frazier's comments on where the Vikings currently stand at middle linebacker (via Patra):
Brian has been a great player in our league for a long, long time. He was a thorn in our side for many years. At this point we want to look at the guys on our roster, give them a chance to compete for the middle linebacker position then we'll see where it takes us.
Clearly, Frazier and the Vikings are content to let their younger players vie for the starting linebacker positions. As Patra points out, Minnesota drafted Penn State outside linebacker Gerald Hodges in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL draft last month, and could possibly play him on the outside while switching veteran Erin Henderson over to middle linebacker.
Either way, Minnesota doesn't seem to have any interest in bringing in a star like Brian Urlacher to compete for the job.
Plus, there's the issue of age. Despite being an eight-time Pro Bowler, Urlacher will turn 35 years old on May 25.
The veteran defender became a free agent last March, and days later the Bears announced that he would not return after both sides failed to come to an agreement on a new contract.
The Chicago Bears drafted Urlacher ninth overall in the 2000 NFL draft and he quickly surpassed expectations. In 13 NFL seasons, the former New Mexico star has recorded over 1,350 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 22 interceptions and 16 fumble recoveries.
Unfortunately, injuries have slowed the former All-Pro linebacker in recent years. He missed all but one game during the 2009 regular season after suffering a dislocated right wrist. In addition, Urlacher missed the final four games of the 2012 season while dealing with a hamstring injury.
Still, Urlacher offers leadership and experience for an NFL club in search of some help at inside linebacker. He has played in over 180 regular-season games and seven playoff games, helping the Bears win the NFC title in 2006 and reach Super Bowl XLI.
Urlacher was voted NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2000 and won NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors back in 2005.
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