Minnesota Vikings position battle: middle linebacker


One of the most interesting and fun preseason battles for the Minnesota Vikings will be at the middle linebacker position.  Last season, the team brought in a veteran to hold down the spot, but it appears as though youth will win out and the position will be one of the spots open for the taking.

A recent article on the Star Tribune website talked about the battle for the middle linebacker job for the Minnesota Vikings.  Head coach Mike Zimmer is very optimistic about the two young men fighting for a starting gig:

"“Audie [Cole] will be fighting for that middle linebacker job, him and [Eric] 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.”"

May 27, 2015; Eden Prairie, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) works on drills at Winter Park. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

That sounds like a great camp battle to watch.  Audie Cole performed pretty well last season when he was forced into action following an injury to Jasper Brinkley.  However, the Minnesota Vikings have been searching for a long-term answer at middle linebacker for several years now.

The nice thing is that even if one player is chosen as a starter, that doesn’t mean that the other will be riding the pine. In fact, there could be a role that Eric Kendricks in the defense even if he doesn’t win a regular starting role.

"“I don’t know if he’ll start but I know he’ll have a role for us defensively. He is a terrific pass-cover guy. If he’s not starting in the base there is a good chance he could start in the nickel.”"

Being in a position where multiple young players are competing for starting jobs can bring out the best in both athletes.  And using both in roles where they can excel can benefit the team greatly.  It is this kind of mindset that has helped Mike Zimmer create an exciting young defense that could take the NFL by storm.

Next: Minnesota Vikings 2015 Game By Game Previews

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