There's no offseason like the NFL offseason! After fans watch the yearly rigged Super Bowl, they wait impatiently for major events such as watching head coaches get the hammer, NFL Free Agency, and everyone's favorite annual NFL Draft. The Vikings did their best to address each hole to the best of their ability during the draft and free agency. Its hard to argue with Greg Jennings and three first round draft selections, however, it is widely considered that the only hole the Vikings may not have addressed during the main portion of the NFL offseason is Middle Linebacker.
The MLB spot is sometimes called the QB of Defense and apparently, there is a huge question at Quarterback! On defense!
The way many Vikings fans see it, there are three obvious scenarios.
Its not the most likely scenario, but the first possibility is to sign Brian Urlacher to a one year deal. Brian Urlacher is an expected NFL hall of famer. The first approach the Vikings could take is to sign one of the best middle linebackers in NFL history. Urlacher may be on the decline, but he would give the Vikings more veteran leadership on defense at one of the most important positions on defense.
What else could signing Brian Urlacher do for the Vikings? Well, it would allow Erin Henderson to stay put at his position at outside linebacker. This would also keep the Vikings from rushing the rookie, Hodges and even Mauti or Audi Cole into the starting lineup.
B) Erin Henderson
This may be the most likely scenario at middle linebacker, as the Vikings are already preparing to go in this direction. According to recent news, Erin Henderson is preparing to make the switch to middle linebacker, like his brother and former Viking, E.J Henderson. Erin Henderson is still young at 26 with six years of experience and big enough to play the position at 6'3 and weighing in at around 245 pounds. Henderson was a serviceable starter at outside linebacker this season for the Vikings, totaling 80 tackles, 3 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. Part of this scenario would most likely include starting the Viking's rookie and fourth round draft pick, Gerald Hodges at outside linebacker. According to reports, Hodges appears to be on the right track, based on his performance at the Viking's offseason training activities.
This scenario would likely keep Erin Henderson at his current position at outside linebacker or Gerald Hodges at outside linebacker. Michael Mauti was one of the Viking's three seventh round draft selections. It seems unlikely that a seventh round pick with no NFL experience may be starting at the Quarterback of Defense, but Michael Mauti is a true leader and a very good football player. For those of you that don't know, Michael Mauti had the potential to be a first round draft pick, if not for the injuries, which include several knee injuries, but apparently Rick Spielman thought that Mauti was too good of a football player to not draft. Michael Mauti was the leader and star of Penn State's defense, not to mention, teammate to another Viking's rookie, Gerald Hodges. While Mauti was out with injury, his team honored their leader by wearing his number on their helmets. Not only was he a star football player, but he emerged as one of the leaders to help trudge his team through the Penn State football scandal. Michael Mauti is a great player, though hammered with injuries, this guy is a fierce competitor with the talent and instincts to be our QB on defense. If he's ready to play, then he could make 31 general managers kick themselves in the ass for passing him up seven times.