"I think I have the respect and trust of my teammates and my coaches. Which I think is very important, especially when you're put into a leadership role and they're asking you to do certain things," Henderson said. "I think them moving me to that position and giving me a chance to play it shows that they trust me upstairs. I love the locker room that we have and the guys who look up to me and respect me for what I've done and what I want to be able to do in the future."
Chad Greenway, the team's best linebacker, at the strong side spot, said he's excited about the prospect of having Henderson in the middle.
"The instincts are there. His ability is there. I think he's got to do it full time. ... So if that's how it shakes out, I think it'll be really great for him," Greenway said. "He's got the range. He's got the length."
The other major question on defense left to answer for the Vikings is how they'll replace the leadership, toughness and tackling ability of veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield, who signed with Seattle.
"Oh, that was a hard one. I'll tell you that much. A fan favorite, a player favorite, a team favorite," Greenway said.
Added safety Harrison Smith: "We all had a ton of respect for him and looked to him for advice. Now, it's really an opportunity for the rest of us to kind of fill that void."
NOTES: QB Christian Ponder said the bruised triceps on his throwing arm that kept him out of the playoff game at Green Bay has healed fully. But he had a scare about two weeks after the season when the contusion came back, his arm swelled up and the muscle hardened. Ponder said he thought it was a blood clot and went to the emergency room to be safe. "About two weeks after that, all the effects went away. Since then, I've been working out probably two months and it's been fine," Ponder said. ... WR Greg Childs, who missed his rookie season with a torn patellar tendon in both knees, has been working out and doing drills at full speed. "All the necessary things I needed to be doing, I'm doing them now," Childs said, declining to put a date on his return to the field with the team.
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