Eden Prairie, MN (August 13, 2014) – The Minnesota Vikings have announced former Pro Bowl linebacker E.J. Henderson has been named the team’s Youth Football Manager.
Henderson, who spent nine seasons (2003-11) as a linebacker with the Vikings, will be an integral part of the Vikings community relations team. He will help develop new community-based youth football initiatives, will zero in on health and safety issues and will work to expand Vikings programming in Greater Minnesota. Henderson will also assist with all Vikings youth football programs, including the Vikings of Tomorrow, USA Football, Community Quarterback Awards, the All-State High School Football Team, and Heads Up Football.
“E.J. has been a special part of the Vikings organization for many years as a player and alumni member, and we are thrilled to have him join us as part of our front office staff,” said Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf. “He has always had a commitment to the Minnesota community, and this role will be an excellent fit for him and the Vikings.”
After joining the Vikings as a 2nd-round pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, Henderson became a leader of the Vikings defense for nearly a decade. He helped the Vikings lead the league against the run for three consecutive seasons (2006-08) and was voted as the Vikings Defensive MVP by his teammates following the 2007 season. Henderson led the team in tackles three times (2004, ’06-07) and earned Pro Bowl honors following the 2010 season, an inspirational comeback after suffering a horrific leg injury during the 2009 season.
Not only was Henderson a leader on the field, but he also was – and remains – a consistent advocate in the Minnesota community. In 2007, he founded the E.J. Henderson Youth Foundation centering on the NFL’s Play 60 message to be active as well as focusing on a healthy mind and the importance of academics. Two years later Henderson was selected as the Vikings Community Man of the Year. Following his football career, Henderson launched YouthPro Fitness and Nutrition (YoPro). The YoPro organization partners with local community education and youth programs to run 60-minute structured fitness activities and educate children on better nutritional habits.
“I was fortunate to play my entire NFL career with the Vikings, during which time I grew to love this community and this state,” said Henderson. “Staying committed to youth outreach after retiring from football has been important to me, and to be given the opportunity to bring that passion as part of the Vikings family is an opportunity I greatly appreciate.”
“The Vikings organization has long-focused on teaching Minnesota children to be healthy and active, and E.J. will bring instant credibility and energy to our youth outreach,” said Vikings Executive Vice President of Public Affairs Lester Bagley. “He will do an outstanding job promoting our sport throughout the state and educating children, parents and coaches about playing this game in a safe manner.”