The NFL has a storied history of brothers playing in the NFL, but it’s not common when the brothers play the same position for the same team during the same season. In fact, there’s been only 15 sets of brothers to do so and only two at the LB position – Niko and Pete Noga with the 1987 St. Louis Cardinals, and Bill and Joe Osmanski with the Chicago Bears from 1944-45.
E.J. and Erin Henderson are in line to start at the middle and outside LB positions, respectively, which would make them the third brother tandem at LB for the same team during the same season.
E.J. has been a constant on the Vikings defense since his rookie season 8 years ago, but for his younger brother Erin, it’s been a different path to be in line for the starting role. Erin spent his first 3 seasons primarily as a special teams player and backup LB, but his hard work throughout training camp this year seems to be paying off.
In the preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans, Erin registered a team-high 10 tackles and he continued to impress throughout the preseason. The 4th-year OLB was fundamental in a goal-line stand in which the Vikings defense stymied the Seahawks four times after a 1st-and-goal from the MIN 2.
The prospect of having a brother tandem at LB may be exciting for Vikings fans, but anyone with a brother may know, it’s not always easy to agree or use the most effective way of communication. To Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier, it’s of no concern.
“From the day Erin [Henderson] arrived,” Frazier said. “They [E.J. and Erin] have a great relationship which is what you hope for when you’re talking about brothers. Which is one of the reasons we weren’t overly concerned when we signed Erin because sometimes that can be a negative as opposed to a positive, and in this case it’s been an absolute positive.”
Team chemistry is an attribute fixed to many great teams and Frazier also sees that as a positive connection between the Henderson brothers.
“You would think there would be some natural chemistry there when you talk about brothers,” Frazier acknowledged. “Being able to relate and talk about assignments and what it takes to be successful in our League. I would think that would come easy for E.J. to share with him [Erin] as opposed to a guy he’s never met before so I would think it’s a benefit for Erin and a benefit for E.J., as well wanting to see his brother succeed which in turn should benefit our football team.”
We’ve witnessed great defensive units over Vikings history such as the Purple People Eaters and the Williams Wall, but are we now in store for a new era of great defensive play? And what to call them? The Bash Brothers, Two-Headed Viking or simply The Brothers Henderson? Let us know what you think.
Tags: E.J. Henderson, Erin Henderson, Leslie Frazier
Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 21 Comments »