With long-time starter E.J. Henderson, the Vikings are leaving the door open to his return, but it seems more likely they move on.  In an offseason where free agent linebackers are, for some reason, getting treated like they have less value than punters, the Vikings have kept their distance from any of them.

One reason for that is that they have high hopes for third year player Jasper Brinkley.

Brinkley is 26 years old and missed all of 2011 when he had hip surgery in August.  He had played in all 32 games of the previous seasons, including taking Henderson’s place in 2009 following the leg injury that ended his season.

“When (Brinkley) did step in for E.J., he continued to get better and really started playing well — especially as we went through the playoffs and the more experience he got,” Spielman said from the NFL’s owner meetings.

“He started off very well last year (in training camp) and it’s a shame he got his hip hurt,” Spielman continued, “but we’ve got a lot of high expectations for Jasper coming back.”

Henderson, age 31, does not seem to fit into Spielman’s youth movement strategy employed this offseason and the most likely scenario is that Brinkley’s main source of competition will come from the 2012 NFL Draft.

For now, consider starting middle linebacker Brinkley’s job to lose.

Adam Warwas (Founder) is a case study in how the human male can allow a hobby to turn into a life-consuming obsession. After serving for about three years as the Editor at Vikings Gab, he decided to branch off on his own and start Vikings Territory, hoping someone might accidentally visit the site from time to time. Now, he is thrilled to present you with one of the most comprehensive and analytical Vikings sites that you are going to find. More than anything, he hopes you enjoy reading VT as much as he enjoys putting it together.

3 COMMENTS

  1. It’s Brinkleys job to lose for sure, just hope his pass defense improves. He’ll be the one that comes out in the nickel so Erin should get more snaps. This is one of those cross your fingers and hope it works out scenarios.

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