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Updated: July 18th, 2012 11:56am
E.J. Henderson's reps telling NFL teams he's healthy, ready to play

E.J. Henderson's reps telling NFL teams he's healthy, ready to play

by Tom Pelissero
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E.J. Henderson doesn't fit the Minnesota Vikings' rebuilding plans, but the veteran middle linebacker apparently is hoping to play a 10th NFL season somewhere.

Henderson's representatives recently began circulating word to teams he's 100% healthy and ready to play after struggling with knee trouble last season, according to NFL sources.

Set to turn 32 last week, Henderson is probably only a two-down player at this stage of his career. He didn't move as well last season, and the titanium rod in his left leg -- used to stabilize a fractured femur in December 2009 -- reacted poorly to heavy workloads.

The Vikings have refused to publicly close the door on the return of Henderson, a second-round pick (40th overall) in the 2003 draft who has played his entire career in Minnesota. But they plan to go to camp next week with Jasper Brinkley atop the depth chart.

It's unlikely any team would offer Henderson more than a low-risk, one-year deal worth near the minimum salary, sources said, and it's unclear whether he'd take that. His base salary last season was $4.7 million.

The one-year deal halfback Lorenzo Booker signed with Chicago on Wednesday means nine of the 19 players who were set to become free agents after finishing last season on the Vikings' 53-man roster have found jobs.

The Vikings re-signed receiver Devin Aromashodu, tackle Pat Brown, nose tackles Fred Evans and Letroy Guion, linebacker Erin Henderson and quarterback Sage Rosenfels. Safety Tyrell Johnson signed with Miami, and linebacker Kenny Onatolu signed with Carolina.

Free-agent safety Husain Abdullah is sitting out part or all of the season for a religious pilgrimage. Also unsigned are linebacker Xavier Adibi, receiver Greg Camarillo, long snapper Matt Katula, offensive lineman Scott Kooistra, safety Jarrad Page, cornerback Benny Sapp and tight ends Visanthe Shiancoe and Jimmy Kleinsasser, who is retired.

Two NFL sources said recently that Shiancoe turned down a one-year offer from Seattle that was worth between $1.2 million and $1.6 million. It is believed Shiancoe is trying to find a better offer and/or situation and still could sign somewhere before camps begin.

Among notable veterans the Vikings released after the season, guard Steve Hutchinson (Tennessee) and cornerback Cedric Griffin (Washington) have signed elsewhere, while guard Anthony Herrera and place-kicker Ryan Longwell remain free agents.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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