Frustration Mounts for Vikings’ Erin Henderson

"I wish I [could] speak freely on twitter…"

Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Erin Henderson's wish came true on Friday night, when the frustration from his team's apathetic approach to offering him another contract boiled over.

Henderson, who became a free agent on March 13, has been eagerly awaiting a contract offer from the Vikings in hopes of returning to the team that rolled the dice on him as an undrafted rookie free agent. As evidenced by his Twitter rant, he isn't happy with the way the process has gone.

"What's crazy is I'm not even asking for big money," Henderson admitted. "All I want is respectable money for what I'm asked to do…"

After the departure of Ben Leber last year, Henderson took over the role of starting weakside linebacker for the Vikings. Throughout 15 games (11 starts), Henderson racked up 70 tackles, two forced fumbles, two deflected passes and 1.5 sacks according to NFL.com. Although the fourth-year linebacker's production wasn't off the charts, he displayed enough maturity and relentlessness out on the field to warrant the "starter" label.

Now, coming off of a contract that paid him $1.2 million in 2011, Henderson is hoping to receive a paycheck that matches his new "starter" label.

"I got a taste of what it means to be a starting [linebacker]. [T]rust me if the money aint right it doesn't make sense at all…" Henderson continued.

Although some may be skeptical, Henderson improved by leaps and bounds last year. He displayed tenacity out on the field and was routinely making plays as if it came naturally. Apart from his passion and fierce playing style, Henderson also brings versatility to the Vikings' linebacking unit.

"In a nutshell… market value and franchise value aren't always going to match," Henderson said. "If someone can play [three] positions [for you], their value has to go up. … I watched every single [one] of my games from last [year] [ten times] over. I know what I'm worth."

According to Tom Pelissero of ESPN 1500, the Vikings have been in touch with Henderson's agent throughout the offseason. Despite apparent interest from both parties to have Henderson return to Minnesota in 2012, the Vikings have yet to put a standing offer on the table.

"Not to mention they [haven't] even [given] me an offer…." Henderson wrote.

One reason that the Vikings could be waiting to give Henderson an offer is how dead the linebacker market has been through the first four days of free agency. Even top linebacker talents such as Atlanta Falcons' Curtis Lofton and Detroit Lions' Stephen Tulloch have yet to sign with new teams.

Until some of the bigger names set the market value, it's unlikely that Henderson and the Vikings will find some common ground. Especially with all the holes they need to fill this offseason, saving money where possible is a necessity for the Vikings.

Regardless of the circumstances, Henderson's frustration is understandable. He has put in the time with the Vikings and expects to be paid for his hard work just like everyone else. The only question now is whether or not Vikings GM Rick Spielman is willing to respond to his Twitter temper tantrum.

If the Vikings can afford to overpay for free agent tight end John Carlson (five years, $25 million), they can give Henderson a fair deal.

Gil Alcaraz IV is a life-long follower of the Minnesota Vikings and the founder of TheVikingDen.com. For more Vikings/NFL coverage, follow him on Twitter or "like" The Viking Den on Facebook.

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Updated Saturday, Mar 17, 2012