The Vikings released linebacker Erin Henderson on Friday. The move, which will save the team $2.1 million in cap space next season, was inevitable, given Henderson's rocky end to last season.
Henderson, 27, was arrested twice on drunken driving charges in a little more than a month, first on Nov. 19 in Eden Prairie and next on New Year’s Day in Chanhassen. The first arrest caused Henderson to miss the Packers game in Week 12 because of “personal reasons.”
Henderson, who declined comment Friday, said after the first arrest that he needed the time away to self-reflect, sensing a change was needed ... until he made the same mistake again after the season ended.
The 2008 undrafted free agent out of Maryland spent six seasons with the Vikings. He played in 14 games last year and finished second on the team with 134 tackles.
Audie Cole made his first career start against Green Bay, replacing Henderson at middle linebacker, and had 11 tackles. Henderson’s reps decreased, with Cole receiving a larger role on defense until he was placed on injured reserve with a sprained ankle heading into the final game of the season.
Cole will be entering his third season. Second-year players Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges are also expected to play larger roles next season.