MANKATO — As far as Erin Henderson is concerned, there's never been a shadow for him to step out of.
While he may be following the path of his brother, E.J. Henderson, the Vikings' linebacker doesn't sweat the comparisons.
"I've never really looked at it like that," Erin Henderson said. "I felt there are bigger fish to fry than to try to get out of my brother's shadow. I mean my brother was a hell of a ball player; it's not that bad to (hear), 'You have similarities,' or, 'You guys do things in a like way and a like manner.' It's not a bad comparison to have."
The two brothers played together for four seasons, including 2010 when E.J. made the Pro Bowl. The older brother, a second-round draft pick has been out of football since 2011. The undrafted Erin, now in his sixth NFL season, is starting training camp as the Vikings' starting middle linebacker, a position E.J. patrolled for most of his career.
"I'm never going to be upset about (the comparison) or try to run away from it or try to hide from it or anything else," Erin said. "But at the same time you get to that point where you're like, 'OK, that's Erin out there making plays. Give Erin some credit for what Erin is doing.' It doesn't always have to come back to the big brother thing."
Henderson said his brother was a great help to him in the days in which they played together. He made it clear that he didn't necessarily follow E.J. to Minnesota; the Vikings were the team with the contract offer and the team that gave him the chance to play.
"It was great that I had a chance to come here and have somebody that could be a mentor to me and somebody that could look out for me on and off the field and kind of show me the ropes of how to be a professional and how to go about things without the other biases that go along with dealing with somebody that you're competing against or somebody you're fighting with for a starting spot ..." the younger Henderson said. "I think that was big for us and definitely huge for me as a person — as a man and as a football player."