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Updated: September 17th, 2012 5:12pm
Erin Henderson's miscue in coverage remains a sore spot a day later

Erin Henderson's miscue in coverage remains a sore spot a day later

by Judd Zulgad
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Erin Henderson was still bothered Monday morning by the fact he was at fault for the 30-yard touchdown pass that Andrew Luck threw to Reggie Wayne near the end of the first half Sunday in Indianapolis' 23-20 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

"I told Coach Pug I had nightmares about that play," Henderson said referring to his position coach, Fred Pagac. "He told me, 'Good, I should.'"

Henderson is the Vikings' starting weak-side linebacker, but moves to the middle when the team puts an extra cornerback on the field in place of Jasper Brinkley.

On the play in question, Wayne was released by cornerback Antoine Winfield and it was largely Henderson's responsibility to drop into the deep middle of the field and pick up the wide receiver. He also was supposed to get some late help from a safety.

That was the design but it didn't work that way, and the Colts took a 17-6 halftime lead in large part because of Henderson's miscue.

"I was in very good position," Henderson said. "I was where I was supposed to be, and I just tried to make a play on the ball too soon. When I turned around to look at it, I misjudged it completely. I felt I had Wayne under control. ... When I tried to make a play on it, I just kind of lost it. ...

"It's one of those things that eats you up. You hate to have it happen, but you're glad it happens at this point in the season, where you can bounce back from it and grow from it, and maybe come back and be put in that situation this season, and make that play that gets us into the playoffs or something like that. I'm glad it happened when it did, and I move forward from it."

Henderson, in his second season as a starter for the Vikings, is hoping other quarterbacks think they can take advantage of him on the same type of play.

"I misjudged it a little bit, so hopefully there are quarterbacks out there, watching it, and they think that they can come in and try to get some on me, too," he said. "I've got a little surprise for them if they want to present that to me."

Henderson was credited with a team-leading 12 tackles, a sack, three tackles for a loss and a quarterback hurry Sunday. But Henderson knows that his error in coverage put a damper on things and that even when asked to cover wide receivers like Wayne, he must do a better job.

"It's what they ask of me, and I've got to figure out how to get it done," he said. "I don't know if you guys noticed or not, I had some time last year playing the same position and doing the same things, and I didn't give up anything across the middle.

"So, it's one of those things, I was trying to take the next step and get my head back and look back at the quarterback and see what was going on back there and I got nosy and he kept running. It is what it is. I learn from it though. I understand what I have to do now. How I can play that better." 

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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