Vikings release Henderson

Erin Henderson was charged twice with drunken driving over a six-week span.

The Vikings severed ties with troubled Erin Henderson on Friday, releasing the six-year veteran who had started at both the outside and middle linebacker positions.

Henderson, 27, was arrested twice on drunken driving charges in six weeks late last season. He declined to comment Friday.

Henderson started 26 games at weak-side linebacker until he moved into the starting middle linebacker spot this season. He missed a Nov. 24 game at Green Bay for “personal reasons,” and Audie Cole took over as the starter. Cole was injured for the final two games, and Henderson regained his starting position. He ended up second on the Vikings in tackles, with 112.

Henderson signed a two-year, $4 million contract last March. He was due a roster bonus of $500,000 if still on the team March 20. By cutting him, the Vikings also will clear a little more than $2 million in salary cap space.

Henderson’s first arrest came Nov. 19 in Eden Prairie, and 12 days later he called it “eye-opening.”

“It was a wake-up call for me and, honestly, it may be something that I needed in the long run,” Henderson said that day. “Something I think will help me progress and become the person I’m capable of being and the man that I want to be. It was a tough situation having to sit at home and watch your teammates and watch your guys go out there to battle.”

He was arrested again on New Year’s Day in Chanhassen.

Henderson was an undrafted free agent out of Maryland in 2008 and joined older brother E.J. Henderson with the Vikings that season. E.J. Henderson played nine seasons for the Vikings, and made a Pro Bowl as a middle linebacker, before his career ended after the 2011 season.

Will Cassel be back?

Quarterback Matt Cassel officially opted out of the final year of his two-year contract and will explore free agency. Cassel could re-sign with the Vikings, however.

Offensive coordinator Norv Turner said quarterbacks coach Scott Turner had a positive conversation with Cassel about possibly returning to the team.

“Matt is interested and he liked his experience here,” Turner said Thursday. “He’s excited about the things we’re doing, the things we’ve done. I’ve known him for quite a while. We’ve talked football. I don’t think I’m surprised by him opting out, if that’s what he did. But I’m excited to work with Matt.”

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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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