Linebacker controversy! Cole pushes Henderson out of the middle?


What a difference a month makes.

For Audie Cole, the Vikings linebacker was just about to be waived before a Thursday night game with the Washington Redskins, and Erin Henderson was firmly entrenched in his starting job at middle linebacker.

(The team did re-sign Cole immediately afterward, but still, didn't bode well.)

Since then Henderson took a week away from the team, and was arrested in suspicion of drunk driving on Nov. 19.

Meanwhile, Cole has been the new spark plug in a sputtering Vikings defense, netting 13 tackles, 11 solo, and a sack in that 26-26 tie at Green Bay. That led the team.

Sunday against Chicago, Cole was third on the team in tackles, with nine tackles, four solo. And he almost had a pick-six interception.

Meanwhile, Henderson, though suited up, did not see a single snap on Sunday.

"Just liked the way Audie was playing and the way our defense as a whole was playing," Frazier said Monday. "Even though we gave up some yards, we did a great job of keeping the points down, great job on third down. Just liked the way [Cole] was leading out there."

So now, as ESPN reports, Coach Leslie Frazier is considering keep Cole in the middle, moving Henderson to weak-side linebacker, a position he's played in the pass.

Henderson moved to middle linebacker this season after starting as an outside linebacker in 2012, as the Star Tribune notes, and the Vikings have struggled finding someone to stick there, with Marvin Mitchell getting the nod, then Desmond Bishop tearing his ACL.

In fact, it might not be a controversy at all – keeping them both on the field makes sense.

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