E.J. Henderson says he’s 100 percent healthy and wants to play

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Cedric Benson isn’t the only veteran with extensive starting experience looking for work as the start of training camp draws closer.

Linebacker E.J. Henderson started 105 games for the Vikings over the last nine years, including 14 last year, but the team was content to let him go as a free agent. The team never said never about bringing him back, but Jasper Brinkley’s installed at middle linebacker. Lingering questions about knee and leg injuries and the fact that Henderson’s best suited to a role on the first two downs likely contributed to that decision and to the league’s indifference toward him this offseason.

Tom Pelissero of ESPN1500.c0m reports that Henderson’s stepping up his efforts to find work. Henderson is “circulating word” that he’s 100 percent healthy and ready to get back on the field. Pelissero writes that it is unclear if Henderson would accept a one-year deal near the minimum — his salary last year was $4.7 million — but, like Benson, he probably doesn’t have much of a choice if he wants to keep playing.

Henderson’s limitations in regard to playing in passing situations restrict the number of landing spots for him, although Paul Gutierrez of CSNBayArea.com mentions him as a possible beneficiary of the cap space provided by signing Tyvon Branch to a new deal. Benson also gets mentioned as a possibility for the Raiders, which just underscores how few established players looking to keep playing are still unemployed at this point in time.

12 responses to “E.J. Henderson says he’s 100 percent healthy and wants to play

  1. Not what he used to be. Probably won’t get a full season out of him. Can’t imagine he would play on special teams. Still, I’d kick his tires. If he doesn’t have to play in too open of space, he will make a tackle for your club.

  2. I don’t think Henderson’s health was the main reason he’s currently unemployed. It is (was) his pay demands and skill set. Henderson has been a great linebacker for the Vikings, but the league has changed.

    Linebackers are perhaps the least important position on defense now, and with the rise in importance of pass coverage and use of tight ends, LBs have to be able to cover well. That’s not EJs strong suit at this point.

    Those changes, plus EJ wanting top pay, have resulted in EJ looking for work. My guess is the Vikings may consider adding him to the roster, but at minimum pay.

  3. If he is in fact healthy, I believe he could still play the run and rush the passer. Worth a roster spot if the Linebacker corp. is thin or inexperienced I think.

  4. The Vikings should re-sign him at the right price. He is still a good linebacker, he is just not as great as he is in his own mind. Go back to MN, play with Erin, and remember there is not a huge market for lbs past their prime.

  5. I like EJ, I’m a huge fan actually. Unfortunately, with the Vikings in full rebuild mode, I’d like some younger guys to go in there and make some hits, take some bumps, and see who can fit long term. He’s not amazing in coverage, but damn that dude is an efficient tackler. He’s not overly mobile, but even last year slipped past offensive lineman who tried to hit him on the second level routinely. The bucs sound like a good landing spot, I hope you guys get him! He has a lot to teach younger guys and us a good leader.

    As much as its our weakest spot depth wise and I like watching him play, he could do more good elsewhere, and make more money. He’s worth more than minimum, and more than what the Vikings will pay him. But if he’s asking for more than 1.3 million, I’d pass.

  6. I’d like to see him come back to the Vikings for the right price, but likely not as the starting MLB. He did have some great years as a Viking, and I’d still like to wear his jersey during games instead of letting it collect dust.

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