Jasper Brinkley made was all set to be E.J. Henderson’s primary backup at middle linebacker in 2011, but a preseason hip injury sent him to injured reserve which meant he didn’t play a single snap in the regular season.

This year, the stakes are even higher as he is in line to outright replace Henderson as the team’s starting middle linebacker, but once again injures are casting a shadow of doubt over his ability to successfully man the position.

In the middle of the OTA schedule Brinkley suffered a groin injury.  He opened Tuesday’s minicamp on the sideline, but Brinkley says the reason is not his groin injury, but rather is related to the hip injury from last year.

“Just a process with the hip, still keep going so hopefully I’ll be out at practice one day before (minicamp is over),” Brinkley said on Tuesday. “This goes back to the hip. Other than that, though, everything is good.”

Brinkley described the decision to sit out as “precautionary” and said if this were a regular season game he would be playing.

“The first couple of OTAs, I was able to do a little bit. I was able to show what I could do,” Brinkley said. “I’m pretty sure if the coaches weren’t satisfied they would bring somebody else in. It’s still a work in progress.”

Brinkley is probably right about that.  The Vikings passed on a chance to sign Rocky McIntosh, who has now signed with the Rams, but other options still exist if they don’t think Brinkley is a true solution.

One of those options?  E.J. Henderson.

Tyrone McKenzie has been playing as the first team middle linebacker during Brinkley’s absence.