With Erin Henderson off the roster, the Minnesota Vikings haven't determined who the starting middle linebacker will be in 2014.
One candidate for the job is second-year player Michael Mauti, who according to the Star Tribune, is "in the mix" to start at middle linebacker this year. He's competing with Jasper Brinkley and Chad Greenway.
"He's again competing for a spot as a starter," Head Coach Mike Zimmer said, as reported by 1500 ESPN. "He's a smart guy, he's got a tremendous family background with playing football and he's an extremely hard worker, very, very focused on what he's trying to get done and so I'm excited to see him when he gets in here in pads, see him when the bullets are flying a little bit more."
Brinkley took first-team reps during organized team activities, and while Greenway will likely once again be the starting weak side linebacker, he has played some in the middle as the Vikings explore his versatility.
“I think we’re all competing. It’s just a matter of who they feel is going to be best in that spot,” Mauti said. “We’ve got a good group of linebackers here that work hard. In training camp, coaches will make that decision. But that’s what we’re all here to do -- to play and give it our best shot.”
For Mauti, just being in NFL might be a blessing enough considering he's had to undergo reconstructive knee surgery three times. But now, as 1500 ESPN notes, he's roaming the field without a brace for the first time in a long time.
Rookie Anthony Barr is expected to be the starting strong side linebacker. For more on Barr, check out this post from Wednesday.
The Vikings report to Mankato for training camp on July 24th.
FLOWERS UNLIKELY TO VISIT VIKINGS
Reports last week indicated the Vikings had reached out to Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Flowers, who was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs. Twin Cities reporters today are saying it's unlikely that Flowers will make a free-agent visit to Minnesota.
The Star Tribune reports that Flowers has already visited the Chargers, and he could make future visits with the Falcons, Ravens and Steelers.