Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has two exceptionally tall linebackers at his disposal in Anthony Barr and Audie Cole. Both are listed as 6-foot-5 on the Vikings’ roster, and Zimmer likes the difficulties their height creates for opposing passers.
"There is something to be said about having tall linebackers," Zimmer said, via ESPN’s Ben Goessling. "…It’s harder to throw in the seams. The big guys who can run have a little bit more punch to them than the little guys who can run."
Cole, a seventh-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, has so far held onto the starting middle linebacker role over second-round rookie Eric Kendricks, who stands 6-feet tall. Zimmer says Kendricks still has some work to do before he can be trusted in the starting lineup.
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"He wants to go get there so fast that sometimes he overruns things," Zimmer said, per ESPN. "He can be a little bit more patient. He needs to just settle down and do what he can do. That’s really it, just settling down and feeling more comfortable, I think."
If Cole keeps the starting job for the regular season, the Vikings could still utilize Kendricks’ athleticism in a rotation for certain situations, such as the nickel package.