Erin Henderson (Thomas Campbell/USA TODAY)
Erin Henderson doesn’t intend to give away his middle linebacker spot to Desmond Bishop if the Vikings sign him. Plus, notes from the Vikings’ first day of minicamp.
Erin Henderson has seen the reports of Desmond Bishop visiting the Vikings, but Henderson isn’t going to quietly relinquish the job he has been working for all offseason – starting middle linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings.
“I’m playing the Mike,” Henderson said when asked if he had his heart set on playing middle linebacker.
“It’s cool. I hope it goes well for (Bishop), the Vikings like what they see. Welcome him with open arms, welcome him to the team. Not really sure what it’s about. I’m just employee No. 50, baby. I just come out here and do what they ask me to do on the field.”
Henderson has been making the transition to middle linebacker, a switch he has relished so he can be on the field full-time, after playing weakside linebacker last year. When the Vikings elected not to re-sign Jasper Brinkley after the season, Henderson began his move.
But on Monday the Green Bay Packers released inside linebacker Desmond Bishop, who led Green Bay in tackles in 2011, despite playing only 13 games, and Bishop told ESPN Wisconsin that he is visiting the Vikings on Tuesday. Head coach Leslie Frazier declined to confirm that, but he said any visit the Vikings may have isn’t a reflection on any one linebacker or the position as a whole.
“Playing the Mike is a big responsibility and it’s a huge part of the defense and what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to accomplish here,” Henderson said. “So I think it puts a stress on you in both aspects if you let it but you have to go out there and trust yourself and trust in your abilities. Do your homework at night and make sure you study and take care what you’ve got to take care of so that you’re prepared when you come out here the next day mentally so that the physical part just comes natural for you.”
Henderson said he would welcome Bishop, and so did strongside linebacker Chad Greenway.
“I think, as a veteran, you have to welcome guys like that with open arms. He’s a very talented player, has proven that in his career,” Greenway said. “If that’s the direction of the organization, that’s the direction we go as a locker room. It’s just kind of the way it is. You open up with open arms to feel welcome because he can help us, and that’s how you win Super Bowls.”
Rookie LB Michael Mauti, coming back from a torn ACL in 2012 with Penn State, went through stretching and participated in individual drills for the first time on Tuesday. He said he expects to be ready for a full practice when training camp starts on July 26.
WR Greg Childs also went through a limited regimen of individual drills, but he sat out most of practice as he continues his comeback from torn patellar tendons in both of his knee, an injury suffered in training camp last year.
DE Jared Allen (knee) and C John Sullivan (knee) both did rehabilitative work but didn’t participate in practice. The expectation is that both of them will be ready for training camp, Frazier said.
LB Nathan Williams, who had ankle surgery earlier this month, had his left foot in a boot.
CB Jacob Lacey, who had thumb surgery, attended practice but didn’t participate.
The Vikings hosted members of the Minnesota National Guard to show their appreciation of the military.
CB Greg McCoy has a hamstring injury.
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.