Vikings Defender on the Road to Recovery

brian asamoah
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He didn’t play much in 2023 but could factor into 2024 plans.

That’s the on-the-field prognosis for Minnesota Vikings linebacker Brian Asamoah, whose playing time was snatched by rookie defender Ivan Pace Jr. this season.

Vikings Defender on the Road to Recovery

Many forecasted Asamoah as a starting Vikings linebacker last summer, but then Pace Jr. arrived and squashed any notion of the Oklahoma alumnus in the starting lineup. For young linebackers, it was The Pace Jr. Show in 2023 — and only him.

Defender on the Road
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And on Thursday, Asamoah tweeted about successful, albeit slightly mysterious, surgery, along with a Bible verse, “Surgery was a success. Can’t wait to attack this rehab and get back to work. ‘Know therefore that Jehovah thy God, he is God, the faithful God, who keepeth covenant and lovingkindness with them that love him and keep his commandments to a 1000 generations,’ Deuteronomy 7:9 AS.”

An ankle injury plagued Asamoah during the middle of the Vikings’ 2023 campaign, so perhaps that would explain the procedure. Otherwise, it’s a guessing game.

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The 23-year-old appeared in 13 Vikings games this season, tabulating 36 defensive plays, down from 119 as a rookie in 2022. He also saw action on 196 special teams plays, whereas 2022’s Vikings put him on the field on 285 special teams occasions.

Asamoah will enter Year No. 3 of his rookie contract next September, setting himself up with a make-or-break campaign, at least to determine his career trajectory as a starter. If Minnesota re-signs Jordan Hicks or inks a newcomer off-ball linebacker relegating Asamoah to the bench, he might be labeled as a reservist defender henceforth. Stay tuned.

going to stick
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On those 36 plays in 2023, Asamoah banked 7 tackles and a lowly 38.3 Pro Football Focus grade in the small sample. As a rookie, his PFF score was astoundingly good at 78.8 — probably why Vikings fans, across the board, penciled him in as a tentative starter for 2023.

Last June, the young defender stated about the new happenings of the Vikings defense, “I’ve learned a lot of football in the last two months, more than I feel like I ever have before.” Regrettably for his sake, that newfound knowledge didn’t translate to significant playing time inside Brian Flores’ defense.

Asamoah was lauded coming out of college for his freakish athletic tendencies, and Flores adores freakishly athletic talent, making it all the more strange that his role was limited in 2023.

It's Officially Brian Asamoah Time
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Eight months ago, Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine labeled one player from every team a ‘best-kept secret,’ and Asamoah took the scepter for Minnesota. “The Vikings obviously have some faith that Asamoah will be able to step into a starting role this season. They released Kendricks and only signed Troy Reeder, a soon-to-be 29-year-old who was a reserve linebacker for the Chargers last year, to replace him. Asamoah is going to get every opportunity to take a starting role, and he flashed the ability to be an asset for the Vikings defense last season,” Ballentine wrote. Didn’t quite work out; at least not yet.

Monitor the aforementioned Hicks’ free agency in March; that alone may determine if Asamoah starts in 2024.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by