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Free ride: Vikes' Henderson nabs $45K on Pro Bowl sideline

While some NFL players were lightly razzed for their seemingly half-hearted approach to Sunday's Pro Bowl, Minnesota Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson has mastered the art.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Monday that Henderson was picked to replace New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who backed out of the game for personal reasons, only to later decide he would play.

Henderson never suited up, but he still received the $45,000 bounty issued to players on the winning team -- along with a free trip to Hawaii.

"It turned out that Vilma was able to play, so E.J. remained in Hawaii as part of the 2011 Pro Bowl roster," NFL spokesman Jon Zimmer told the newspaper. "He was available for activation as an emergency replacement player at the LB position for the NFC yesterday if the need arose (it did not)."

The NFL credited Henderson as one of three Minnesota Vikings players with a Pro Bowl appearance, along with running back Adrian Peterson and cornerback Antoine Winfield, who both played.

Henderson isn't a slacker, though. He worked his way back from a broken femur in December 2009 to record 106 tackles, one forced fumble and three interceptions this season.

The Pioneer Pressalso reported Monday that the Vikings spoke with Dave Wannstedt about a defensive staff position before former NFL head coach agreed to become the Buffalo Bills' assistant head coach and linebackers coach earlier this month.

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Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) rushes during an NFL football game between the between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)

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