NASHVILLE — The Vikings still haven’t named a starting middle linebacker, but one of the leading candidates is confident that he will be the guy.

Gerald Hodges, who made his second straight start at middle linebacker tonight, said after the 24-17 loss to the Titans that he believes he will start.

“I’m pretty confident at this point,” he said. “It just depends where.”

Hodges, who had never started a game at the position in his life until five days ago, made one tackle tonight in about a quarter of work. He recorded a team-high four tackles in the win over the Cowboys last Saturday night.

“I felt pretty good in there again,” Hodges said. “They just wanted me to get in there and get used to seeing some alignments heading into Week 1.”

Rookie Eric Kendricks again replaced Hodges when the Vikings went to their nickel and sub packages. He then took over for Hodges in the base defense in the second quarter. He finished the game with four tackles.

Audie Cole, who started the first two preseason games at middle linebacker, entered in the third quarter. It appears he is no longer in the mix to start.

Coach Mike Zimmer was noncommittal when asked about the linebacker battle, saying that he needs to go back and watch the tape from tonight.

But after talking with Hodges, it sure sounds like he is going to be the guy.

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