Minnesota Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson is one of the better players on the defense and does a very nice job against the run, but he won’t be playing in the same position upon his return to the team following his DUI. That’s because Audie Cole has played so well in Henderson’s place as the team’s starting middle linebacker, and the USA Today’s Tom Pelissero (formerly an excellent Vikings beat writer at ESPN) reports that Cole will stay at MLB and Henderson will simply move to the WILL.
This news doesn’t come as much of a surprise, and it’s a testament to just how well Cole has played over the past two weeks and just how impressed the Vikings organization is with the 24-year-old N.C. State product. Cole, who came into his first start with just eight career tackles, recorded 13 tackles against the Green Bay Packers in an absolutely monstrous game. He was fantastic, and he also managed to record the first sack of his career. In an effort to prove that his monster game in Week 12 wasn’t a fluke, Cole pounded another division rival last week in the Chicago Bears with nine tackles and the first pass defended of his career.
Like Kyle Wilber of the Dallas Cowboys, Audie Cole has taken full advantage of an opportunity to start, and the organization is clearly high on him and is rewarding his success as a spot-starter with the full-time starting role. Henderson should still do fine as a WILL linebacker, and he and Cole as starters give the Vikings the most talented starting LB trio possible.