Ex-Viking Erin Henderson says he showed up to practices hung over

Categories: Vikings
HendersonMugshot2.jpg
Henderson's Carver County mugshot following his January 1 arrest.
It's hard enough to perform at an NFL level as it is. But can you imagine trying to do so while still reeling from last night's booze bender?

That's the situation former Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson says he was in last season before he was arrested for DWI and pot possession on November 19 and then again on January 1.

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"There would be times where I would come to practice hung over," Henderson told USA Today's Tom Pelissero. "Never just fresh off of drinking coming into practice. But I might have had a rough night the night before, and I'd be in front of the huddle calling plays. And everybody would know that I had been out drinking the night before."

Henderson acknowledged his drinking and pot smoking probably affected his performance negatively, but said he'd "been doing it for so long and it's something that I had gotten used to."

Henderson, 27 and looking for another NFL job, says those days are in the past, however. He checked himself into the Hazelden immediately after he was released from custody following his second arrest. In a lengthy letter he wrote for TMZ, he says he's now sober and characterizes the arrests as the best thing that ever happened to him.

Here's an unedited excerpt from Henderson's letter:
When I was arrested for a DUI twice within a month span followed by being released by the Minnesota Vikings, I immediately felt panic, my mind ran to feelings of abandonment and neglect. I was fearful of my mistake and that my weak moment would not only taint my family's legacy but my own brand that I work so hard and persistent to make sure is pure and respectful. I prayed I would be forgiven, I asked for clarity, a new heart, mind and soul. And followed by my answered prayers I was given an opportunity to seek help, and embrace that I not only a professional athlete but a Father and Husband, had done something that would represent ugliness, judgment and desertion. But I could either sink or swim, and overcome this circumstance and learn from my mistake and emerge back into the world stronger and vast then ever.

Individuals with adversity must hit their rock bottom before they decide to make a change. For me that was January 1, 2014 when my life as I knew it came to a screeching halt. As I look back on it I cannot be more grateful. I was arrested and spent almost 24 hrs in a holding cell and had nothing but time to think about the path my life was heading down. Coach fraizer would often tell us "show me your vision and I can show you your future." That night I had a vision of my future and knew I had to do something to better it. It was at that moment I realized I could not do it on my own and made the decision to seek the help I needed. I was released January 2nd at around 2pm. By 4pm I was packed up and headed to Hazelden in Center City.
Henderson's next court hearing is scheduled for next month. In the USA Today interview, he said he drank and smoked pot as a way of "numbing things" and looks forward to catching on with another team and showing what he can do now that he's sober.

"That's one of the things I'm most curious about -- what happens when I can remove a lot of my off-field issues and just play with a clear mind and actually enjoy the game like I used to?" he said.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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39 comments
Kyle Uhlenhake
Kyle Uhlenhake

Favre played drunk and still dominated the vikes

Jamie Grimm
Jamie Grimm

Tommy Kramer played hungover all the time.

LarryAltringer
LarryAltringer

I'm sick of liberals making excuses for minority athletes, just because of their superior altheticsicm. If we had reverse affirmative action so that whites could play basketball and football, we would not have these problems. As we know, white people do not get hangovers ,due to genetics. Irish, German, British etc can hold their Liquors. So long as Obama is in power and liberal guilt floods our sports with Africans we will have hungover athletes and be the laughing stock of Western Civelazation. 


John Bunch
John Bunch

Ken Stabler won the Super Bowl hung over.

Jay Hanson
Jay Hanson

He was horrible...Vikings are way better off without him. Glad he's gone.

Betty Hindbjorgen
Betty Hindbjorgen

A lot of judgmental comments. Are we all saints? He takes full responsibility for his actions and entered Hazelden. I'll say it again, I wish him well.

Paul Bailey
Paul Bailey

I saw him hammered a few times at Canterbury Park, one time he was unable to stay on his stool.

Steven Harty
Steven Harty

I can't believe you would jeopardize that big paycheck just to smoke some pot and get drunk. Wow

James St Clair
James St Clair

He knew he would never be even half as good as his brother EJ. so didn't even bother trying.

Throbbing.Pussy.
Throbbing.Pussy.

I wonder how many editors at City Pages come into work stoned off their asses.

Nicole White
Nicole White

Our MN athletes are real winners. -sacasm- -le sigh-

Betty Hindbjorgen
Betty Hindbjorgen

I'll also add I'll always be a Minnesota fan. Go Twins! Noon game today :)

Denny Sid Scanlon
Denny Sid Scanlon

Why do people feel they have to bash peoples comments. I have never gone to work drunk or high even though I drank and smoked.

Jason Suess
Jason Suess

We'll at least we have an excuse now for how awful he was!!!! We all thought you just sucked!!!!!

Betty Hindbjorgen
Betty Hindbjorgen

Was this really worth reporting? He's taking responsibility for his actions & entered into Hazelden. I wish him well.

Kathie Carlson
Kathie Carlson

Erick I smoked until I had a heart attack I also was a bartender for 19 years so I did my share of drinking and drugs but I never ever showed up to work drunk or hungover. you don't know so don't judge me I'm not judging you I just said I've never shown up for work hungover. and as far as my high horse leaving me stranded it'll never happen. I've made sure in my life and never giving people a hard time or I've always been there for them and them there for me. its called respect

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81

A guy in his twenties showing up for work after a night of partying should be no surprise, it's part of being in your twenties.

DavidFoureyes
DavidFoureyes topcommenter

So when Scoop busted into the editor's office with "Guy Comes To Work Hungover", did anyone actually say "STOP THE PRESSES!" or was it more, like, implied?

Troy Tokach
Troy Tokach

If I was a Vikings player I'd show up hammered too! How could you take that bunch of losers sober?

Derek Eaton
Derek Eaton

Look around the office you work at, it's like that all the time.

Jim Bjerke
Jim Bjerke

If Kathie has never shown up to work hungover, giving her shit for that is worse than this stupid article.

Crystal Roth
Crystal Roth

I don't get paid millions so I think it is a little different. However, he will probably never play in the NFL again. He will more than likely end his career in the CFL or an arena league. He was never as good as EJ....

Kathie Carlson
Kathie Carlson

never said any of that Erick. But I have never gone to work drunk or hung over.

Erick Thomas
Erick Thomas

Kathie Carlson is the same person that claims to have never smoked, done drugs, or gotten drunk. We don't care about you Kathie Carlson. I hope your high horse dies and leaves you stranded alone.

David Benton
David Benton

if i was making millions i would take my job more serious

Joe Peterson
Joe Peterson

I'm sure most people have shown up to work hung over

Kaia Rubin
Kaia Rubin

I do it all the time, then again I'm the boss and I don't interact with other people.

Jay Sea Jay
Jay Sea Jay

We are all applauding you Kathie Carlson.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

Best of luck to him. He's right at the time most alcoholics/addicts relapse. The 6month wall.

Kathie Carlson
Kathie Carlson

Michael no MOST people dont show up drunk. I never have

Michael J. Kraemer
Michael J. Kraemer

Big deal, most of us have shown up to work hung over or still drunk.

ajlalk3
ajlalk3 topcommenter

le sigh? What are you, a 12 year old making Reddit rage comics?

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