Nov 11, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (54) reacts after making a play against the Houston Texans during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Is Brian Urlacher In the Picture for the Vikings?

The Vikings took steps to address their linebacker situation during this weekend’s draft…kind of. Well they did take two linebackers, both from Penn State. Gerald Hodges was taken in the fourth and Michael Mauti was taken in the seventh. Hodges obviously is the better prospect but here’s the kicker: he’s never played the middle. His strength is coverage – he is a converted safety – so he at least gives them a potentially better option than Erin Henderson at nickel linebacker. But can Hodges lock down the MLB job, allowing Henderson to stay on the weak side where he belongs? Who knows.

Mauti is an even iffier proposition. He has had umpteen injuries, many of them to his knees. Right now we don’t even know if he will physically be able to get on the field this season. There are two ways of looking at the situation. One: Rick Spielman totally wasted a draft pick on this broken guy. Two: If Eric Sugarman and the Vikings can get this guy right he can be a steal.

I ain’t putting any money on Mauti making it back to become a meaningful contributor. And I’m not convinced that Erin Henderson can play MLB. So where does that leave the Vikings? They drafted a couple linebackers but did they really improve their lot?

On the surface, it doesn’t look like they are much better off today at linebacker than they were going into the draft. So it’s natural to assume that another move is forthcoming. And there’s at least one name out there that appears to make sense as a plug-in-and-play option for one year. That band aid man is Brian Urlacher.

We all know what the deal is with Urlacher. Perfect scheme fit after all those years as a dropping MLB in the Bears’ Tampa-2. Great heart. Great leadership. Guy you hate if he’s on the other team but love if he’s on your team. Unfortunately, his legs are apparently gone. If he does get on the field again he will be playing on pure heart and guts and savvy. You could argue that heart and guts and savvy are enough for him to start at MLB for Minnesota, since right now he only has to beat out Erin Henderson and Marvin Mitchell. That says all you need to know about what the Vikings currently are figuring to line up at MLB.

So is Urlacher in the picture? Hard to say. On the one hand, he would seem to make sense as a low-cost fill-in. On the other hand, Rick Spielman doesn’t like bringing in broken down veterans. But he might want to make an exception this once. If Urlacher still has anything left, he would immediately be the best MLB on the team. And he would help bring some leadership to a defense that keeps getting younger all the time. If the guy can still move at all, I say at least look at him. I am far from being sold on what the Vikings currently feature in the middle.

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Tags: Minnesota Vikings

  • Mike Bridges

    If the price is right…hells yeh take him for one year. I don’t hear anyone else sniffin around the ole dog! If he still wants to play football I bet he can use his experience to make it through 1 season. Imagine how angry he would play, especially against da Bears! The Vikings would then HAVE to find a MLB, possibly through next year’s draft. What’s the hold up? Imagine how much that young defense could learn from Allen and Urlacher! Go get him….SKOL!

  • Daniel Laxen

    Yeah, bring him in and if/when the Vikings release him tell us again how Spielman is horrible with player relationships…Urlacher would be better than anyone on the roster, but how much better…His leadership would be great, but if his legs are gone why be the team that ended his career and open Spielman up to more conjecture? Pass…

    • SRob

      Point taken – The age and leg mileage are definitely a major factor, sir.

  • SRob

    It wouldn’t be a bad thing to bring Urlacher on board. He brings experience and certainly has a proven record of success given his history with Chicago. And with the added element of Greg Jennings, the two vets could help Minnesota to do great things this upcoming season.

  • Mandooooo

    If we didn’t want to keep one of our own older guys why would we go out and sign somebody else’s? Why waste the cap space and roster spot on somebody who we all will know end up injured before half the season is over.

  • Tommy Yarbrough

    Even if Urlacher’s legs are pretty much gone, he could still play part of the time. The biggest contribution he could make. though, is mentoring the young linebackers Minnesota has right now, and that includes Erin Henderson. We all know that he could use some pointers from one of the best MLB’s to ever play the game. Zinski, you are correct in your assessment of Urlacher being the best MLB on the team, were he there. As I say, he could probably see SOME playing time, giving the young backers a breather and time to watch and learn. I also agree with you that Hodges would be the best option for another starter, as I have serious doubts about Mauti, (even though I’ve heard that the kid is a real brawler) because of his serious knee issues. What we have left is Audie Cole and Marvin Mitchell, and aside from the highlight reel game Cole had last preseason against Buffalo, we’ve barely heard anything from either of them. I think the best option would be to sign Urlacher for a year or two, and let him mentor and teach Henderson, Hodges, Cole, and Mauti what it’s going to take for them to be NFL caliber linebackers that can possibly become starting material. After all let’s face it…that’s what we need.