Erin Henderson cut by Vikings

Updated: February 7, 2014, 7:17 PM ET
By Ben Goessling | ESPN.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings announced Friday afternoon that they released linebacker Erin Henderson, who had been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving twice since November.

Henderson was first arrested on Nov. 19 in Eden Prairie, and he missed the Vikings' next game with what the team said was an unrelated personal issue. He also was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and for possessing a small amount of marijuana after his car spun out of control on New Year's Day.

He opened the season as the team's middle linebacker but lost that spot to Audie Cole and didn't get it back until a high ankle sprain sidelined Cole for the regular-season finale.

After his first arrest, Henderson talked about his struggles dealing with the pressure of keeping his job in the NFL. He had moved from weakside to middle linebacker before the season, and he seemed to take great pride in having a larger role in the defense as well as occupying a position where his older brother E.J. had been a Pro Bowler for the Vikings.

But late in the season, then-coach Leslie Frazier acknowledged that Henderson was never the Vikings' Plan A at middle linebacker, and his days with the team seemed numbered after Cole played well in his absence. His second arrest seemed to seal Henderson's fate.

By cutting the 27-year-old linebacker, the Vikings cleared $2 million in cap space for next season.

Ben Goessling

ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter

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