Dec 8, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (27) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Audie Cole (57) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Linebacker Shuffle Sends Michael Mauti Outside, Audie Cole to Middle

The quest to solidify the linebacker corps has turned into a game of musical chairs for Mike Zimmer and the Vikings.

Who is outside and who is inside? The starting three has crystallized: Anthony Barr at the Sam, Jasper Brinkley at the Mike and Chad Greenway at the Will. But after that? It’s anybody’s guess.

When the first (arguably worthless) depth chart was released Tuesday, it showed Michael Mauti as the #2 Sam and Audie Cole as the #2 Mike. A complete reversal from about a week ago when Cole was getting a look outside and Mauti was getting work in the middle.

At various times this camp, we’ve seen Chad Greenway in the middle and on the outside. We’ve seen Gerald Hodges get work in the middle and on the outside. We’ve gotten a peek at rookie Brandon Watts and even a little taste of the other Mike Zimmer.

And with the first preseason game now just days away, it still doesn’t seem that very much has been settled beyond the top three.

Mike Zimmer promised that he had a lot to sort out with his personnel, and he wasn’t kidding. My guess is that the shuffling will continue for a couple weeks more. And there could even be some new participants, once players start hitting the waiver wire.

The Chris Crocker signing shows that Mike Zimmer isn’t afraid to bring in an established vet if he’s not happy with his in-house options. His players have certainly gotten that message by now as well.

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Tags: Audie Cole Michael Mauti Minnesota Vikings

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