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Erin Henderson: Brian Urlacher rumors motivate me

Minnesota Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson hears the Brian Urlacher rumors. He's seen the skepticism over his ability to handle the transition from weak-side to middle linebacker, and he's not happy about any of it.

"I don't think I've ever been this pissed in my entire life, to just hear people talk about stuff that they have no idea what they're talking about," Henderson told ESPN Twin Cities. "I guess it's getting to a point now where it's like, 'Dang, I just want a little bit of respect.'"

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Henderson was the Vikings' fourth-leading tackler last season despite missing two games and playing less than 60 percent of the snaps. The concern is he doesn't have the speed or range to play in nickel packages.

Although Henderson understands he can be "crucified" for his lapses in coverage, he never has been more confident that he can handle third downs with improved footwork if given the opportunity. In the meantime, he welcomes all competitors for the starting middle linebacker job.

"I've got to hear they might want to bring in Urlacher," Henderson said. "Cool. Bring him in. And if he's better than me, if he can outplay me at that position, then let him play."

Henderson will be given every opportunity to lock down the position in organized team activities in minicamp. If he leaves reason for doubt, we just might see that battle with Urlacher in training camp.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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