Arizona Victory Overshadowed By Devastating Injury To Vikings' Henderson

Bryan HollisterAnalyst IDecember 7, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 06:  Linebacker E.J. Henderson #56 of the Minnesota Vikings is looked at by trainers after being injured during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 30-17. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals took the Minnesota Vikings to task and handed them only their second loss of the season on Sunday night, picking Favre off twice and holding Adrian "Mr. All Day" Peterson to a total of 19 yards all night in route to a 30-17 victory.

But Kurt Warner outplaying Brett Favre was not the main storyline of the evening.

That came just past the midway point in the fourth quarter, when Vikings defenders Jamarca Sanford and E.J. Henderson collided while pursuing Arizona's Tim Hightower, ending in a disastrous result.

As Sanford closed for a tackle, Hightower sidestepped him to the right, which caused Sanford's dive to miss completely. Pursuing Hightower from behind was Henderson.

Sanford didn't miss him.

Instead, he hit him high on the left leg, causing what appeared to be a severe knee injury when watching the play at full speed. When watching the replay, however, it turned out to be much, much worse.

All of us old enough to remember Joe Theismann's playing days probably reacted in much the same way: First came the wince, then the statement, "that wasn't his knee, that was his frigging FEMUR!" followed by the statement, "He is done. No more football in his future."

Vikings' head coach Brad Childress indicated that the injury was severe enough to warrant surgery, and indeed Henderson stayed overnight in Phoenix to have the surgery performed. This season, at least, is finished. I don't care who you are, you aren't coming back from an injury of that sort for at least a year, if ever.

All our hearts and prayers, I am sure, go out to E.J. and his family. The impact of the Vikings loss of a key defensive player is minimal in comparison to the long road back that Henderson and his family face.

Good luck and Godspeed, E.J.; we are all pulling for you.