Remember when E.J. Henderson was an absolute lock to start at linebacker for the Vikings while his little brother Erin was forced to fight for a roster spot?
Well, the times, they are a changin'.
Heading into the 2012 season, Erin Henderson's name is written in the Vikings' lineup in pen, not pencil. Barring an injury, little E will start Week 1 against the Jaguars. Meanwhile, his older brother is still technically looking for a job.
At first glance, it's mystifying that E.J. isn't signed yet. He's coming off a season where he played all 16 games, recorded 109 tackles, and forced three fumbles. But he was also paid a hefty $6.7 million by the Vikings in 2011 and would like to be similarly compensated with a new deal. That steep asking price combined with questions about his durability have resulted in little interest from the Vikings or any other NFL team thus far.
But as 1500 ESPN's Tom Pelissero is reporting, E.J. claims there shouldn't be any concerns about his health:
Per NFL sources, former #Vikings LB E.J. Henderson's have recently begun circulating word he's 100% healthy and wants to play.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 18, 2012
Of course, if he wants a chance to play with the Vikings or any other team, his salary expectations will have to come way down. Pelissero continued:
Sense is Henderson will have to take near the minimum but may want more. Some suspicious he's only being pushed hard out there in mid-July.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 18, 2012
The suspicion is justified--if Henderson was so healthy in the first place, then why is the public push to play coming with so little time before Training Camp? Hopefully E.J. will find an NFL job soon--the Vikings could definitely still use his services at linebacker. But if he hopes to play in 2012, it sounds like he'll have to take a significant pay cut.