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Recovered Audie Cole Ready to Return to Vikings

View images of Vikings LB Audie Cole.

Audie Cole sounds ready to roll in 2016.

The linebacker and special teamer said Tuesday that he has recovered from a fractured ankle and was excited to re-sign with the Vikings.

"Minnesota is where I wanted to be," Cole said. "We've built relationships together, and I'm excited to get back."

Cole has played in 41 games and made seven starts (six at middle linebacker, one at weakside linebacker). The 2012 seventh-round pick has totaled 67 tackles (48 solo), 4.0 tackles for loss, a sack, seven quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and four passes defended.

He also has added 20 special teams tackles (14 solo) and one fumble recovery (in the 2015 season opener) through four seasons.

Cole played in the Vikings first six games before missing one with a hand injury. He showed determination in returning the following week to start in place of injured rookie Eric Kendricks, but suffered the season-ending ankle injury against the Rams. The Michigan native rehabbed the injury in Minnesota and kept attending meetings, even though he was on injured reserve.

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"[Missing time] wasn't ideal, but I couldn't do anything about it," Cole said. "Hanging out, supporting the team and attending meetings kept me involved and helped me get through not being able to play. I'm better now and feeling really good."

Cole has split time between his home state and Tennessee this offseason. He also managed to meet up with Anthony Barr and former Viking Michael Mauti in the Dominican Republic.

"It was great to see the country. I had never been to the Caribbean," Cole said. "We went all over with some local guides, went to the beach, out on a boat and rode around the country."

Now rested and healed, Cole wants to help Minnesota defend its NFC North title and build on an 11-5 season. He'll have the chance to resume helping next month when Vikings players return to Winter Park on April 18 for the beginning of the offseason workout program.

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