The Minnesota Vikings filled multiple needs in what, on paper, is deemed one of the best drafts in recent Vikings history. One glaring hole remaining on the Vikings roster in the middle linebacker position, formerly filled by now Arizona Cardinal Jasper Brinkley. Here are some Vikings middle linebacker options:
Erin Henderson – The move wouldn’t be overly popular amongst Vikings fans as Erin has yet to mount to anything. In five season with the Vikings, two as a starter, Erin Henderson has accounted for 176 tackles, 5 forced fumbles, 4.5 sacks, and 0 interceptions. Fitting the prototypical specs for a middle linebacker – 6’3, 240+ pounds, a sub 4.7 forty, and a leader – It shouldn’t come to a surprise that Henderson could be moved into the middle linebacking spot.
Audie Cole – It’s easy to look at his two pick 6′s during the 2012 preseason, but it would be surprising to see the Vikings move a 7th round pick into the starting middle linebacker position. Cole will more than likely get a shot to be the leader of the defense, but the soft spoken second-year player from N.C. State ran a sub 4.8 forty at the combine – not ideal for a three down linebacker.
Brian Urlacher – Yes, but no. The Bears have no interest in bringing Brian Urlacher back after contract talks failed. Urlacher would be a great guy to bring in for a year to help teach the younger linebackers like Cole and Henderson but it’s hard to see the Vikings bringing up a seasoned bet with little left in the tank.
Karlos Dansby – Another veteran and this one is interesting. Dansby, 31, has been productive in recent years and finished last season with 134 combined tackles. The Dolphins released Dansby just over a month ago and a few teams have shown some interest but Dansby is still a free agent. If all else fails Dansby would be a great pickup for a year or two.
Draft Pick – A number of potential middle linebacker candidates were picked in the 2nd and 3rd round of the draft leaving little pickings for the Vikings when they pick at #120. Here are some players to watch (you have to think they pick at least one linebacker for depth reasons/special teams)
- AJ Klein, Iowa State
- Chase Thomas, Stanford
- Michael Mauti, Penn State
- Jelani Jenkins, Florida
- Kevin Reddick, North Carolina