Vikings expect inside competition at Middle Linebacker

5/5/13 in NFL   |   BrianMaddock   |   1429 respect

Earlier in the offseason, the Minnesota Vikings didn’t have a clear starting option at middle linebacker for the 2013 season, but the team still chose not address the position through the NFL draft with their top three picks. Now, the Minnesota Vikings are reportedly looking for inside options to promote to the starting middle linebacker spot for next season.
Reports earlier this week stated outside linebacker Erin Henderson as the most likely player to be moved to the middle. The five-year veteran still a favorite for the job as Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said later in the week that Erin Henderson remains “in conversation” at middle linebacker. But Erin Henderson is as yet not considered a lock, with the Leslie Frazier expected to first explore all options with offseason workout activates largely remaining this summer.
"We've been talking about it. We want to take a look at some things in this minicamp and we'll probably make a decision here after we get done and just talk about some things,” said Leslie Frazier. “But he's definitely in the conversation."
Leslie Frazier added there were still multiple candidates the Minnesota Vikings were looking at to takeover at middle linebacker – including Audie Cole, Tyrone McKenzie and rookie Michael Mauti. 
“Audie Cole is a part of that as well. Tyrone McKenzie is one of the guys we’ll take a look at and Michael Mauti, the guy that we drafted, as well,” said Leslie Frazier. “We have some options, but Erin is definitely one of those guys we’re talking about.”
Selected in the seventh-round of the 2012 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings, Audie Cole played one defensive snap for the team in his rookie season. Meanwhile, Tyrone McKenzie played six defensive snaps after being promoted to the active roster last season. Michael Mauti, isn’t expected to return from an ACL injury until training camp. However, all three players are considered to be the “dark horses” in the competition for the middle linebacker job.
Another player not being publically mentioned by the Minnesota Vikings, but otherwise coming across in reports related to the team is Brian Urlacher. The 34-year-old Brian Urlacher entered free agency this offseason after 12 straight seasons with the Chicago Bears. He remains unsigned and garnered some interest from teams prior to the NFL Draft. Brian Urlacher could potentially get a call from the Minnesota Vikings if the team believes it possible to negotiate his asking price.
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