Fantasy Reaction: Erin Henderson Re-Signs With Minnesota
The Minnesota Vikings re-signed WLB Erin Henderson to a two-year contract. Lacking of depth at the position, the Vikings could ill-afford to lose him, especially with Jasper Brinkley possibly not coming back. Henderson remains on the team that gives him the best chance to be productive in IDP leagues.
There isn’t a whole lot of tape to go on from Henderson’s first few seasons. He was behind his brother, E.J., on the depth chart and didn’t receive a whole lot of meaningful snaps. From the 2008 through 2010 seasons, he managed just 33 defensive snaps, including a year (2008) in which E.J. appeared in just four games.
In 2011, Erin appeared in 15 games and 590 defensive snaps, showing his run-stopping ability. He also graded out at a +14.2, while leading 4-3 outside linebackers in run-stop percentage with a stop on 11.6 percent of his run snaps. He recorded 70 tackles, leading to an 11.9 percent tackle frequency and showing that he was on the verge of being a viable IDP option.
Last season was supposed to be Erin’s breakout year, as the Vikings let E.J. walk in free agency, giving Erin a chance to be a three-down linebacker. After producing 22 tackles and two sacks in his first two games, the breakout appeared to be on. However, an untimely concussion sidelined him and ultimately caused him to lose his three-down role to Brinkley.
As a two-down player, Henderson put up inconsistent numbers. He had seven games of four or fewer tackles over the last 12 weeks of the season, and he finished the season with 79 tackles.
So what’s in store for Erin Henderson for the 2013 season? He has proven that he can be a three-down linebacker and produce solid fantasy numbers. He finished his 2012 on a high note, producing five or more tackles in four of his last six games. There’s certainly a hole in the middle for the Vikings, so there’s an outside chance he could slide inside. It’s more likely Henderson will continue to man the weak side, and get another shot at a three-down role. Like last year, Henderson is flying under the radar in the early-going of mock drafts, so he’s worth a flier as your fifth linebacker. He has the upside to produce LB3 numbers if given the opportunity to play every down.
Mike Woellert is a Senior Writer for Pro Football Focus Fantasy. Follow Mike on Twitter @PFF_MWoellert