Two Vikings wins made absence easier to bear, Erin Henderson says
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Admitting frustration, Minnesota Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson said he's "getting there" in his return from a concussion that held him out of practice for two weeks before he was cleared for a limited return on Wednesday.
"It is a little bit different than anything I've ever had to deal with in my life," Henderson said before practice.
"Typically, when you are injured or you're dealing with things, you are trying to get better, doing your rehab, doing whatever it takes to get back on the field. But when you're dealing with something like this it is a completely different animal.
"The biggest thing is just to rest and take your time and come back when you feel like you can be a help to the team and an asset and not a liability to anybody including yourself."
Coach Leslie Frazier said Henderson would "do some things" in Wednesday's practice but would limited and there are still hurdles to clear before his starting weakside linebacker would be cleared to play on Sunday against Tennessee.
"I was hoping the same thing a week ago," Frazier said. "So, hoping that he'll be able to practice (Thursday), they'll clear him and say, 'Hey, you can do everything.' The fact that it's to the point where he can participate some today, that's a good sign."
Henderson hadn't practiced since apparently suffered the injury on Sept. 16 at Indianapolis. He didn't report concussion symptoms until three days later and has missed two consecutive games.
"You kind of feel like you are not really yourself," Henderson said. "You don't have the same oomph you usually have, the same pizzazz you normally have.
"I recognized that, but maybe it was just a tough game and took something out of me? Who knows? As time went on and as it progressed, it just didn't feel right."
Frazier said he's "(n)ot certain as to why it's taking this much time. But as you know, you're going to err on the side of caution when it comes to a head injury. And that's what we're doing. That's what our doctors are doing."
Henderson led the Vikings with 26 tackles (20 solo) and two sacks before the injury. But the Vikings defense hasn't missed him much in upset wins over San Francisco and Detroit.
Against the Lions, they played so much nickel defense that Henderson's replacement, Marvin Mitchell, only was on the field for 10 snaps.
"To get those two games with me out, it was huge for me, helped me out a lot," Henderson said. "It made a little easier for me to deal with, to bear."
It remains to be seen whether the Vikings would bring back Henderson in a full-time role if he is cleared to play on Sunday or whether middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley, who has acquitted himself well, would continue to play in the nickel at least in the short term.