Erin Henderson will return to the Vikings starting lineup Sunday at Baltimore, but it won’t be at middle linebacker.
Audie Cole will remain the starter at middle linebacker while Henderson will return to weakside linebacker, a position he played until this season.
Henderson lost his starting job after being arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and then subsequently missed the Green Bay game because of a “personal issue.” Henderson dressed but did not play in Sunday’s 23-20 overtime victory against the Chicago Bears.
Henderson led the team in tackles through 10 games, but he became a target of criticism as the defense struggled. He said he’s in a good frame of mind now, but he acknowledged that he let that criticism get to him.
“I have a lot of things to be happy about and thankful for aside from all the naysayers and haters and everybody else who’s had different things to say about me throughout the year,” he said. “Sometimes I let it get to me and get me down too much. I’ve come to grips with it and come to terms with it, and I’m able to look at myself and know the man that I am and accept it.”
“I go out there every Sunday and I play my guts out. So when you get some negative feedback, it can be kind of a tough pill to swallow. But then you learn some of those people are idiots, sitting behind computers and phones saying whatever they want to say and you can’t give it too much credit.”
Henderson said he’s limited his interaction on Twitter because of that criticism.
“I thought about deleting my account but that’s giving them even more satisfaction,” he said. “It can be kind of difficult to see sometimes with so much negativity coming your way.”
Coach Leslie Frazier said Cole has earned the opportunity to remain the starter based on his performances the past two games. Frazier noted that Henderson, who will replace Marvin Mitchell, is returning to his natural position.
Cook appeals fine
Cornerback Chris Cook revealed that the NFL fined him “something like $26,000” for making contact with an official and being ejected after giving up a 46-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter Sunday.
“My agent already appealed it,” Cook said.
Cook, who discussed the situation with Frazier on Wednesday, said: “I know I have to keep my composure. I was just frustrated with some things in the game and lost my composure. I can guarantee it will not happen again.”
Cook said he was most upset about what he thought was offensive pass interference on Alshon Jeffery two plays before the ejection.
“I know it was pass interference, but I’m not a referee, so it’s not my call to make,” Cook said. “The ball was literally falling into my lap and my arm was being grabbed and I couldn’t get my arm up. I was frustrated about that, and they turn around and score and it made me even more mad. I let my emotions get the best of me. I know I can’t act like that, especially toward an official.”
As for making contact with the official, Cook said it was minor.
“I kind of touched his arm, but it wasn’t really like I was trying to push him on the ground or something,” Cook said. “They made it seem like I was trying to push him on the ground. … I can’t really do anything about what they call within the game. I have to be a man about it and move on to the next play.”