Former Vikings special teams captain and linebacker Audie Cole is expected to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday, a league source told the Star Tribune.
Cole’s new home marks another departure from the Vikings linebacker corps, which also recently saw the retirement of mainstay Chad Greenway.
The roster currently sits with five linebackers between Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Emmanuel Lamur, Edmond Robinson and Kentrell Brothers. The Vikings will need to add depth, potentially through free agency and the draft, with an opening in the defense.
Head coach Mike Zimmer recently said he believes his current in-house options could take over Greenway’s role, which was roughly 40 percent of snaps at weak-side linebacker in the base defense.
“I think those guys have a chance to be good players,” Zimmer said last month. “I’ve known Lamur for a long time. Edmond, I don’t think he had the year that he felt like he should have last year. But he’s a young, talented guy that has shown a lot of progress over the course of two years.”
The Vikings were open to retaining Cole, the source said, but he found a more lucrative deal pending a physical in Jacksonville. Terms were not immediately available.
Cole, 27, was drafted in the seventh round (210th overall) by the Vikings in 2012 out of North Carolina State. He started seven games in five seasons for the Vikings.