Found March 17, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
Five days into free agency, Minnesota Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson didnt envision his chance to secure his first big contract going quite this way.Henderson, 25, is an unrestricted free agent after a 2011 season in which he became a starter for the first time and finished with 91 tackles, eight tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Unable to come to an agreement with Minnesota before free agency began on Tuesday, Henderson became one of the top outside linebackers available. He said during the season he was interested in re-signing with the Vikings, the team that gave him his first break as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2008. The day before free agency started, Henderson again showed his desire to come back to Minnesota, tweeting, "Lets write a letter. Ill start it.Dear Vikings,"But without a deal in place on Friday, Henderson began displaying frustration with the process."I wish i cld speak freely on twitter...." Henderson wrote on his Twitter page (@50ErinHenderson). Then he started getting the questions from his followers.In a response to a question why he couldnt speak freely on Twitter, Henderson wrote, "140 characters ain't enough...for sure to b taken the wrong way." and followed with, "In a nutshell...market value and franchise value aren't always going to match. If someone can play 3 positions 4 u, their value has to go up."Henderson followed up with a string of comments seemed to be aimed at any naysayers."I've watched every single 1 of my games from last yr 10x's over. I know what I'm worth. Not to mention they aint even give me an offer....," Henderson tweeted. "I don't come to ur job and tell u what you shld n shldnt make. So how can u say what I'm worth?"Whats crazy is I'm not even asking for big money. All I want is respectable money for what I'm asked to do...I have a son. Y wld I want to put our future relationship in jeopardy for some money that ain't even close to being correct...I'd rather be broke and watch my son grow up than put my well being on the line for money that doesn't make sense."I got a taste of what it means to be a starting LB. trust me if the money aint right it doesn't make sense at all..."Minnesota has reportedly been interested in re-signing Henderson. He and his brother E.J. were both starters on the Vikings defense last season. Both are free agents now, leaving two holes on Minnesotas defense, which lacked depth behind the Hendersons and Chad Greenway last season. Greenway, Jasper Brinkley, Larry Dean and Tyrone McKenzie are the only linebackers currently on the roster.Brinkley is trying to come back after missing all last season due to hip surgery. Dean is undersized and played mainly special teams as an undrafted rookie free agent. McKenzie was a practice squad player. Kenny Onatolu, a backup linebacker and special teams ace, signed with Carolina on Friday, and Xavier Adibi is also an unrestricted free agent.The Vikings are expected to let E.J. Henderson, 31, sign elsewhere. But signing Erin was a likely goal after he had developed into a starter. He is familiar with the system and is still young for a team trying to turn over its roster with younger talent.While big money has been passed out to receivers, cornerbacks, and pass rushers, Henderson and other linebackers have been waiting their turn. Its been a soft market for linebackers to this point. While on a conference call announcing the signing of tight end John Carlson this week, general manager Rick Spielman said he was still in contact with Hendersons agent, but there was no current offer on the table.Henderson told one follower, "don't feel sorry for me. I'm livin my dream..."And even former teammate Ray Edwards, who signed with Atlanta as a free agent last season, told Henderson it was best not to engage the "haters.""I just feel like the ppl have the right to know what's really happenin...," Henderson responded.Edwards tweeted back, "just stay quite trust me you know I know"When a follower pointed out the 3-13 record last season as a reason for the type of offer hes looking for might not be there, Henderson wrote, "thats all my fault? I played 53 of the defensive snaps. How I can I help us win more games at that percentage?"Henderson wants to return to the Vikings and sounds like he thought the feeling was mutual. As movement starts to take place among linebackers in free agency, it could spur activity from Minnesota or Henderson. For now, Henderson waits and wants to feel respected.When a follower understood his plight to get paid accordingly, Henderson responded, "and at this point just acknowledged!" Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
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