Vikings, Erin Henderson come to terms
Erin Henderson (Otto Greule Jr/Getty)
Erin Henderson (Otto Greule Jr/Getty)
Posted Mar 23, 2012
Tim Yotter

Linebacker Erin Henderson will be a Minnesota Viking for at least another season after agreeing to a one-year deal.

The Vikings have re-signed linebacker Erin Henderson to a one-year deal, according to his agent.

Henderson and the Vikings have been talking about a contract since before free agency began but were unable to reach an agreement until Friday. The one-year deal, worth a reported $2 million deal, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, is an increase from the $1.2 million tender the outside linebacker signed as a restricted free agent last year. It also gives the two sides another season to assess their partnership and see if a longer contract is in each of their best interests.

One week ago, Henderson took to Twitter to express his frustration with not be re-signed at that point.

“In a value and franchise value aren't always going to match. If someone can play 3 positions 4 u, their value has to go up,” Henderson wrote.

Last year, his first season as a starter replacing veteran Ben Leber, Henderson was fourth on the team with 91 tackles and added eight tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks. He also had two quarterback hurries, two passes defensed and two forced fumbles.

Henderson’s older brother E.J., the Vikings’ long-time starting middle linebacker, is also a free agent and hasn’t been re-signed.

Erin was originally signed as an undrafted free agent following the 2008 NFL Draft and slowly worked his way up the depth chart. In 2008, he played in 11 games, almost exclusively on special teams, where he registered 11 tackles and a forced fumble. Had three defensive tackles, all three coming in his most extensive action on defense against Arizona on Dec. 14.

“No matter where we go from here remember I was the 10th backer on the roster my rookie yr...and yet here we are,” Henderson tweeted last week. “I got a taste of what it means to be a starting LB. trust me if the money aint right it doesn't make sense at all.

“Whats crazy is I'm not even asking for big money. All I want is respectable money for what I'm asked to do.”

Henderson’s chip on the shoulder is part of what has helped him grow into a starting linebacker after spending most of 2009 on the inactive list and then being suspended for four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. He finished that season with five special-teams tackles in the two games he played.

In 2010, he was active for nine of 16 games, playing primarily on special teams. Against Miami in Week 2, he replaced an injured Leber and, on the first play he was on the field, recovered a fumble deep in Miami territory forced by E.J.

He finished the 2010 season with two tackles and a fumble recovery on defense and tied for fifth with nine special-teams tackles, but the Vikings had enough confidence in him last year to not pursue re-signing Leber and counting on Erin as a starter. He ended up playing in almost 54 percent of the defensive snaps because he was used in only a part-time basis in the nickel defense, mostly when E.J. Henderson was limited with a sore knee.

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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