Vikings notes: Cole is new man in the middle

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 23, 2013 - 9:28 AM

Minnesota Vikings linebacker Audie Cole

Photo: Genevieve Ross, Associated Press

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Our snapshot look as the Vikings prepare for Sunday’s game against the Packers at Lambeau Field.

 

Audie Cole will make his first career start at middle linebacker in place of Erin Henderson, who was declared out of Sunday’s game while he tends to a personal matter.

Henderson leads the team in tackles and tackles for loss. Coach Leslie Frazier declined to provide any details into his absence. Without Henderson, Cole, who has played in 13 career games, will handle all of the defensive calls and will play in the middle in nickel situations.

“The only time I ever feel pressure is when I don’t feel prepared, and I feel like I’ve prepared real well this week,” Cole said. “The coaches have done a great job with me, and I think I’m real into the game plan. I don’t really feel pressured or nervous because of it.”

The Vikings released Cole before the Washington game and promoted Kevin Murphy from the practice squad because they needed a backup offensive tackle with Phil Loadholt sidelined. The team re-signed Cole after the game, a plan he knew all along. But that didn’t make it any easier.

“Obviously it’s still not cool, it’s not what you want to happen,” he said. “I understand why they did it. Someone had to go. I wish it wasn’t me, but it was. You’ve just got to take it. I came back and things have been going good for me lately.”

Keep an eye on

Brian Robison was listed as questionable after experiencing a muscle spasm in his neck during Thursday’s practice. Robison was unable to practice Friday, and his status could be a game-time decision.

Robison said his injury was something “that popped out of nowhere.”

“I’ve actually never had a muscle spasm,” he said. “This is a first [time] thing for me, kind of weird. You don’t think of a muscle spasm totally locking you down, and it did. We’ll see what happens.”

If Robison is unable to play, Everson Griffen would start in his place. That would leave the Vikings without another defensive end on the active roster. Frazier said the team possibly could promote either Justin Trattou or Spencer Nealy off the practice squad in that situation.

Most pressing question

How healthy is running back Adrian Peterson? The 2012 NFL MVP did some work in practice on Friday, which Frazier described as “encouraging,” after missing two days because of a groin injury.

Frazier listed Peterson as questionable on the injury report, but Peterson said Thursday that he expects to play.

He’s averaged 115.5 yards in 13 career games against the Packers and needs only one rushing touchdown to reach double digits in that category for the seventh consecutive season.

 

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