Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  By BRIAN HALL  |  Last updated 11/26/13
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. On the first play from scrimmage inhis first NFL start on Sunday, Minnesota Vikings second-year linebacker AudieCole tried to fill the hole to stop Green Bays rookie running back Eddie Lacy.Once Cole got through the offensive line almost untouched,he noticed Lacy didnt have the ball. Packers quarterback Scott Tolzien hadgone play-action and stepped back to look for receivers down field. Colequickly diagnosed the play and went after Tolzien, who ducked to try and avoidCole but was the victim of Coles first NFL sack.Cole had been waiting for his chance to get on the field forMinnesota in defensive situations. He never left the field Sunday after his bigplay to start the game.Making his debut in place of Erin Henderson, who was outwhile attending to a personal matter, Cole played every defensive snap inSundays 26-26 tie against Green Bay. Now he could be looking at more playingtime going forward after leading the Vikings with 13 tackles. Cole added twotackles for loss and three quarterback hits.I tell you, he did a really good job yesterday for us,coach Leslie Frazier said Monday. To step in, he hasnt had any true gameexperience other than the preseason at that position, so it was encouraging towatch the way he moved around and some of the plays he made.Henderson was back at the team facilities on Monday and isexpected to return to practice this week. Cole did enough Sunday for coaches totalk about an increased role going forward.Were going to talk about it this afternoon as a staff andjust see whats best, Frazier said. But he did some things to make you take ahard look at where we are.Cole, a 2012 seventh-round draft pick out of North CarolinaState, had been limited mostly to special times in his two years with theVikings. He splashed in the preseason in 2012 when he returned twointerceptions for touchdowns in one game against Buffalo.Yet, he was behind Jasper Brinkley at middle linebacker andplayed in five games his rookie season. Once Brinkley signed with the ArizonaCardinals in the offseason, the Vikings moved Henderson to the middle from theweakside where he had started the previous two seasons.Frazier didnt completely rule out moving Henderson back toweakside and having Cole start in the middle. Minnesota has been searching fora standout weakside linebacker since moving Henderson. The Vikings draftedGerald Hodges in the fourth round this year. Desmond Bishop appeared to beearning more chances before a season-ending injury. Marvin Mitchell has startedthe most games for Minnesota at the position.Frazier said Cole could also be a possibility on the outsideand has some experience practicing there.When we sit down this afternoon and just talk about whatwere going to do for this opponent, well probably talk about whats the bestscenario to get the best 11 on the field, Frazier said. Well have todetermine if Audie will be one of those 11 or how well do it. Its hard for meto answer that right now.Henderson leads the Vikings in tackles and tackles for lossand is tied for the team high with two interceptions this season. Frazier washesitant to compare Hendersons play with Coles performance on Sunday.Erin has done a good job for us throughout the year at themiddle linebacker position, Frazier said. Its a new position for him. Hesalways been an outside backer for us, and as the season has gone on, hesgotten better at that position. In comparison, its hard to compare one game versusin Erins case, 10 games at the position. But Audie did a good job for the onegame that he was lined up at the Mike linebacker.Cole getting a start would have been highly unexpected a fewweeks ago. Left shorthanded because of injuries and needing a backup offensivetackle for the Thursday night game against Washington, Minnesota waived Cole tomake room for tackle Kevin Murphy on the active roster.Cole cleared waivers and was re-signed two days after thegame, with Murphy headed back to the practice squad. Cole said the team toldhim they wanted to bring him back, but it didnt make being released anyeasier.Obviously its still not cool, its not what you want tohappen, Cole said last week. I understand why they did it, someone had to go.I wish it wasnt me, but it was. Youve just got to take it. It sucked, I cameback and things have been going good for me lately.Cole said he felt prepared for Sundays start and didntfeel the pressure of making his first NFL start. Cole was also responsible formaking the defensive play calls and helping the defense get set up in the rightspots. He filled Hendersons role in the nickel defense and played all 94defensive snaps as well as 12 special teams plays.Probably mentally, Cole said of where hes improved themost since being drafted in the seventh round. I understand what they want outof me and want they want out of the defense. When I first got here, I didntreally know what was going on. I thought I did but I didnt. And its not likeit just happened one day, just kind of over time looking back now, its a bigdifference but I never realized the difference while it was happening.Frazier didnt plan to play Cole every snap on Sunday.Rookie Michael Mauti had pulled ahead of Cole on the depth chart when he wasreleased, but some tenderness in Mautis surgically-repaired knee gave Coleanother opening.We talked about it during the week, knowing what MichaelMautis situation was coming off an injury, that if Audie played well early, westayed with him, see how hes doing, Frazier said. It seemed the more heplayed, the more plays he made so there was no reason to sub him. He did a goodjob.Practice squad change: Minnesota announced on Tuesday itreleased offensive lineman Jamaal Johnson-Webb from the practice squad to makeroom for defensive back Kip Edwards.Edwards, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound cornerback, was signed by theBuffalo Bills in April as an undrafted free agent out of Missouri. He spenttime this season on the Cleveland Browns practice squad.The Vikings had signed offensive lineman Mike Remmers to theactive roster on Monday, replacing the open spot created by releasingcornerback A.J. Jefferson following a Monday arrest. With Jeffersons release,Josh Robinsons fractured sternum and Xavier Rhodes concussion, Minnesota wasshort at cornerback. Follow Brian Hall on Twitter
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