Audie Cole: Fan favorite is in the mix at MLB says Mike Zimmer


Audie Cole announced his presence with authority in the final game of the 2014 season, notching a career high 14 tackles including 1 tackle for loss and adding 1 pass defensed in a 13-9 Vikings victory over the Bears.

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That massive performance in relief of Chad Greenway at weakside linebacker had fans wondering if Cole might not be in line for a bigger role with the defense in 2015. Maybe he’d even usurp the aging Greenway as the starting Will.

But Cole’s chance to win a starting job seemed to evaporate when the Vikings kept Greenway, giving every indication that he was still the starter, then drafted Eric Kendricks to plug in at the Mike.

Now however it seems that we may have been premature in assuming that the Vikings’ offseason moves meant Cole was out of the mix for a starting opportunity in 2015.

According to Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, Cole is still very much in the mix. Sid Hartman spoke to Zimmer about various players and this is what Zim had to say about Cole (via Minneapolis Star-Tribune):

"“Audie [Cole] will be fighting for that middle linebacker job, him and Kendricks. Audie is kind of a guy that just does his job. He goes out, makes a lot of tackles, makes plays, he is doing a very good job. We’ll just see where it goes.”"

So it sounds like maybe Cole will get his shot at the Mike job after all?

Maybe. It’s also possible that Zimmer is playing the old “rookies have to earn it” game by adding Cole’s name to the discussion at MLB.

Eric Kendricks certainly impressed in OTAs and minicamp but Zimmer is not the kind of coach who will simply hand a job to a rook, no matter how good he looks early on.

The job is probably still Kendricks’ to lose, but it never hurts to have competition or at least create the impression of competition. Don’t want those young guys getting complacent.

If you’re Audie Cole, you certainly understand that Kendricks was drafted pretty high and is viewed as a starting-caliber player, but you still have to go out and fight like you have a chance to win the job.

I know this about Audie Cole: he isn’t going to get outworked. Even if he doesn’t lock down a starting job, he’s proven his value to the team as a backup/special teams player, and he will have a role on the Vikings no matter what.

Just ask the Bears what Audie Cole is about.

Next: Bridgewater becoming tight with Wallace

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