After hearing news that Vikings starting middle linebacker Erin Henderson would be unable to play against the Packers on Sunday, many fans were excited to find out that Audie Cole would be getting the start in his place.
And boy, did Cole make a huge impact in this game.
He was everywhere on the field. He was making a lot of tackles, pressuring the quarterback, and even sacking the quarterback. He made the most of his opportunity for a guy that was released by the team less than a month ago and then signed back.
From Green Bay’s first snap on offense, Cole made his presence felt. He blasted through the Packers offensive line and dove on top of quarterback Scott Tolzien. And he didn’t slow down after that. Here are his total stats for the game:
- 13 tackles (led team)
- 2 tackles for loss
- 1 quarterback sack
- 3 quarterback hits
Cole had this to say about his first start in a Minnesota Vikings uniform:
“I had some good things go my way, but I definitely made a lot of mistakes,” said Cole. “It was my first game, you had to get the (jitters) out. I made some mistakes but the most important thing we kind of did what we wanted to do. We had some bad breaks early and it didn’t go the way we wanted.”
Despite having an excellent game, Cole sees a lot of room for improvement. He made a case for the Vikings coaching staff to have to re-evaluate the talent at middle linebacker because he played so well. However, he still regrets a couple plays he made on Sunday.
“You never want to miss tackles, and Lacey was doing a good job,” Cole said. “He’s a tough running back. He was breaking tackles. In the end it comes back and gets you.”
Minnesota’s head coach Leslie Frazier recognized Audie’s efforts in his post game interview.
“Audie did a terrific job, the way he orchestrated things throughout the day,” said Frazier. “He had a great week of practice the way he prepared. His performance was very, very good. I think our defense did a lot of good things today and I think Audie had a lot to do with that.”