Vikings middle linebacker E.J. Henderson’s return this season from a broken leg might have been remarkable but it wasn’t enough to earn him the NFL’s comeback player of the year honor.
That award went to Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, who wasn’t returning from injury but rather had to rehabilitate his career after spending 19 months in jail for his role in a dog fighting ring. Vick signed with the Eagles before the 2009 season but took over as the starter this year.
He helped lead the Eagles to the playoffs and finished fourth in the NFL with a 100.2 passer rating. Vick had 3,018 yards passing, 21 touchdowns and only six interceptions.
Henderson, meanwhile, returned far ahead of schedule to play this season after breaking the femur in his left leg in December 2009 at Arizona. He had a titanium rod inserted in his leg during surgery.
Vick won easily by getting 29.5 of 50 possible votes from those on the Associated Press poll. Henderson got 3.5 votes. Seattle wide receiver Mike Williams was second with 8 votes.
New England wide receiver Wes Welker, Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher and Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel received two votes apiece. Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu, Seattle running back/kick returner Leon Washington and Tampa Bay running back LeGarrette Blount got one vote apiece.
Henderson was selected as a replacement for the Saints’ Jonathan Vilma on the NFC Pro Bowl roster last Sunday. Vilma had decided to skip the game for personal reasons but later decided he could play. That caused Henderson to be inactive for the game. Still, the NFL plans to recognize him as a Pro Bowl player for 2010.
This season Henderson tied for the lead on the Vikings with three interceptions and finished second on the team in tackles with 139.
More from Star Tribune
More from Access Vikings
Team opens at St. Louis on Oct. 13; home opener is two days later against Winnipeg.
The Vikings have the 23rd overall pick in the April draft.
Coach Zimmer remains convinced Bridgewater will start against the Raiders
The Vikings have mentioned in their pregame literature that fans will be directed to Williams, Mariucci or Ridder Arenas in case a storm disrupts the game at TCF Bank Stadium.
Vikings open preseason against the Raiders at TCF Bank Stadium.