Henderson is the man in the middle for Vikings - KMSP-TV


Henderson is the man in the middle for Vikings

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Of all the big questions entering the Minnesota Vikings 2013 season, middle linebacker might be the most worn out topic. Especially with the guy the franchise has in that position, Erin Henderson.

"You guys keep talking about it," Henderson said to the media following practice in Mankato.

Henderson claimed the middle as his turf in the offseason and deflected questions of his readiness and when the team signed former Packer middle linebacker Desmond Bishop, the immediate assumption was that Bishop would take the middle and Henderson would slide to the weak side.

Not so.

Henderson has grasped the position and has become a leader on a veteran defense. It isn't just Henderson that is tiring of the Henderson questions. Head coach Leslie Frazier praised his effort to this point in camp and despite a minor groin issue, Frazier pointed to Audie Cole needing more game reps and confirmed that he and the coaches hadn't even given a thought to moving Bishop back inside.

In a camp that has been quied and lacking in storylines, the middle linebacker competition hasn't been a competition at all.

"I like the leadership he has shown," said Frazier. "It's different than outside linebacker. Everybody's kind of looking at you for leadership. He's growing into that role. It's taken a little time, but he realizes how he has to handle certain questions that the guys will ask."

His role has increased in the six seasons with the Vikings and now he is primed to take over the quarterback spot in the defense, the same position his older brother EJ roamed for the Vikings.

For now, the issue of who will play the middle is anything but an issue at all.

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