Sunday, February 1, 2015
Tags Posts tagged with "jasper brinkley"

jasper brinkley

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Adrian Peterson didn’t have a hundred yard game.  Christian Ponder, while making some nice plays early on, didn’t suddenly transform into Tom Brady.  Jarius Wright is obviously not at the same level as Percy Harvin.

Still, the Vikings dealt Houston a convincing 23-6 loss, and the defense can stand proud after this one.

Rookie Harrison Smith led the Vikings with seven tackles, while also adding a forced fumble and a sack.  Jasper Brinkley and company held Arian Foster to almost no gains whatsoever, and he also had a forced fumble.  Everson Griffen and A.J. Jefferson took advantage of those forced fumbles with each recovering one.  Antoine Winfield and Fred Evans each came up with timely sacks, and Matt Schaub never seemed quite able to develop the rhythm that has downed plenty of their 2012 opponents.

The special teams did their job, as well, led by Blair Walsh who broke an NFL record for 50-yard-or-longer field goals.  He scored from 56, 41, and then 39 yards out.

Coach Leslie Frazier should be proud of the way his team played on Sunday, despite the fact that his passing game still looks completely lost at times, as the Vikings have edged a huge step closer to being included in the postseason tournament.

Heck, it has been a while, so let’s do this thing:

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In Sunday’s game against Chris Johnson and the Titans, Minnesota will get one linebacker back from injury while another will have to sit because of a new injury.

Mike Wobschall of Vikings.com reports that Erin Henderson is sure to return from a concussion that kept him on the sidelines the last two games, while Marvin Mitchell will be inactive after suffering a calf injury during Wednesday’s practice.

Backups Audie Cole and Tyrone McKenzie are both expected to be active to provide depth in Mitchell’s absence.

Middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley is going to be staying on the field in nickel packages which isn’t too surprising considering how well he has been playing in Henderson’s absence.  Frazier explains that Henderson could eventually work his way back into the nickel package, but it won’t be this week.

“Yeah we’re going to keep Jasper at the nickel mike for the time being,” Frazier said. “He’s done a good job there. Give Erin a chance to kind of get his legs back under him and then we’ll revisit it later on. Jasper has done a good job so we have a lot of confidence in what he’s accomplished so far.”

Okay, now go back to putting on your Colts jersey… we’ll see you in a few hours.

Today, the Minnesota Vikings officially will open training camp in Mankato, and there will be plenty of storylines to follow on offense as chronicled here.

The defense provides even more intrigue and drama for us to follow, however, as there is a surplus of jobs up for grabs across the board.  Here is my look at the top five storylines to follow on the defensive side of the football in the coming weeks:

5.  The Alan Williams Show

“Hey, Alan, I have a job for you.  I want you to come to Minnesota and coach up the defense that, outside of Jared Allen, was atrocious last year.  Oh, by the way, I want you to supervise the guy you are replacing and also try to get Singletary to keep his pants on.  Thanks, see you soon.”

New defensive coordinator Alan Williams inherited a mess, to be frank, and the unique arrangement of the coaching staff could prove to be a point of drama moving forward.  It will be mighty interesting to see how he responds to the challenge and how his players respond to him.

Rick Spielman had a chance to sign one of the many proven middle linebackers that hit the open market back in March.

He passed.

Instead, the team has decided to move forward with Jasper Brinkley, a fifth round selection in 2009, to take over the position that E.J. Henderson has held for so long.  Brinkley filled in for Henderson quite well during his rookie season, but last year he missed every game due to a hip injury that is apparently still lingering.

“I know what we saw when he came in as a rookie and when he came in and filled in for E.J. and the potential we saw there,” Spielman recently told 1500 ESPN.  “He’s a big banger, physical inside middle linebacker that probably doesn’t get enough credit for his athletic skill set as well.”

Spielman can’t help but admit that Brinkley’s health concerns could be a problem, however.

“But again, the durability is a question right now,” continued Spielman, “just because he hasn’t played in a year and hasn’t played much at all hardly through this offseason.”

The Vikings are keeping Brinkley in Minnesota between now and training camp and Spielman says the goal is to make sure he is 100% ready to go by the time training camp rolls around.  Rookie Audie Cole, practice squad player Tyrone MCKenzie and free agent pickup Marvin Mitchell make up the depth chart behind Brinkley and have been seeing increased reps during his absence.

“There’s no question Jasper’s slated in there, but there is some competition going on,” Spielman said of the starting position. “Jasper has to show that he can be on the field, and if not, like I said, we’ll monitor where our young guys are, where some of our backups are and can they do it, and if not, we’ll definitely have to explore the market outside.”

“It’s a big year for him as well, I know, because he’s going into the last year of his contract,” noted Spielman.  “So, he wants — he needs to get on the field.”

I find the timing of Spielman expressing his concerns kind of puzzling.  When free agency opened up he watched guys like Curtis Lofton, Stephen Tulloch, David Hawthorne, and Dan Connor sign with other teams despite their proven talent and fairly ideal age.

If Brinkley doesn’t pan out because of injuries, and the depth behind him proves to be inadequate, then the decision to make middle linebacker a non-priority could be one that comes back and bites Spielman in the ass.

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