Former Vikings linebacker elected to College Football Hall of Fame

(Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images) E.J. Henderson
(Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images) E.J. Henderson /

On Wednesday, the College Football Hall of Fame revealed that former Minnesota Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson is among the 2020 inductees.

Back in 2003, the Minnesota Vikings were able to add a trio of talented players with their first three picks in the NFL Draft.

The Vikings snagged former Oklahoma State defensive tackle Kevin Williams in the first round, former Maryland linebacker E.J. Henderson in the second round, and former Nevada wide receiver Nate Burleson in the third round.

Each of these players went on the spend at least nine years in the NFL and all three appeared in at least 125 games during their careers.

Of these three players, Henderson was the one who had to wait the longest to get a starting opportunity with Minnesota. Despite being one of the best (if not the best) linebackers during his college days at Maryland, Henderson didn’t get the chance to be a starter for the Vikings until his second season with the team.

After finally cracking the starting lineup, the young linebacker didn’t disappoint. Henderson went on to play for nine years in Minnesota and during four of these seasons, he finished with at least 105 tackles. Only Chad Greenway (six) and Ed McDaniel (five) had more years with the Vikings in which they finished a season with 100 tackles or more than Henderson.

Before he was even drafted by the Vikings, Henderson was busy making a name for himself at Maryland. During his college career, the linebacker set numerous school and national records, earned two First-Team All-American selections, was named the ACC Player of the Year in 2001, and was recognized as the top defensive player in the nation in 2002 when he won the Bednarik Award.

Thanks to his success at Maryland, Henderson was among those selected on Wednesday as the newest inductees for the College Football Hall of Fame. The former Minnesota linebacker will be part of a 2020 class of inductees that includes Eric Crouch, Steve McNair, Cade McNown, Eric Dickerson, and David Pollack among others.

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Henderson is the latest former member of the Vikings to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. A number of former Minnesota players have already been inducted including Anthony Carter, Randall Cunningham, Carl Eller, Tommy Kramer, Alan Page, and Ahmad Rashad.