The Minnesota Vikings appear to be in danger of losing one of their best young players to NFL free agency in linebacker Erin Henderson. Nobody is quite sure of the reason why, either.
If you didn't see it over the course of the past couple of days, Minnesota Vikings' linebacker Erin Henderson took to his Twitter account to voice his "displeasure" over the way free agency has gone for him since Tuesday afternoon. According to what he said over the course of a series of tweets, he apparently hasn't received so much as an offer from the Vikings at this point in time, despite overtures from the Vikings that they'd like to keep him in the fold. Apparently the Vikings are "waiting for the market to be set" for linebackers in free agency before making any sort of offer to Henderson.
If that's the case, let me be the first to say that's fairly ridiculous.
Granted, linebackers have not gotten a lot of attention to this point in the free agency process. Names such as Curtis Lofton (formerly of the Atlanta Falcons), former Seattle Seahawk David Hawthorne, and Detroit's Stephen Tulloch are still out there, among others, and not getting a lot of attention from teams across the league. To put it another way, it's sort of like a junior-high dance: all of the NFL teams are on one side of the gymnasium, all of the linebackers are on the other ... and everyone's waiting to see who makes the first move.
In this case, however, the Vikings would do well to set the market rather than waiting for the market to be set for them. In his first year as a starter in 2011 after spending the first three years of his Minnesota career on special teams, Henderson performed quite well and showed the potential to handle an expanded role if he were to be back in Minnesota again in 2012. He's still fairly young (he won't turn 26 until July), and has been praised by football experts across the Internet as one of the best linebackers available in free agency this off-season.
And here's the kicker ... from all appearances, he actually wants to play in Minnesota and be a part of the rebuilding process.
As a 3-13 football team, it's going to be hard for the Vikings to attract talented players to play here, never mind talented young players. If Erin Henderson wants to stay in Minnesota and the price is right -- as Henderson himself says, he's "not asking for big money" -- then the Vikings need to stop playing around and get something done with one of their best young players. Hopefully, before too much longer here, the team will announce that they have finalized a deal with Henderson the Younger that will keep him here for the long term.