Jasper Brinkley Likes Mike Zimmer’s “Up Front” Style


Dec 23, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Minnesota Vikings middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley (54) watches the game against the Houston Texans during the first quarter at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

With offseason conditioning going on at Winter Park these past few days, Vikings players have gotten their first real chance to get to know their new head coach Mike Zimmer.

So far, it appears the players like what they see. Especially when comparing Zimmer’s way of doing business to the tendencies of previous coaching regimes.

Jasper Brinkley, now back in the fold after an unsuccessful stint in Arizona, seems particularly impressed with Zimmer’s player-relations skills.

And it seems Brinkley did not necessarily feel the same way about his old coach Leslie Frazier.

“The coaching staff is very different from the coaching staff that was here when I was here,” Brinkley told Andrew Krammer of ESPN. “Coach Zimmer is more of an up-front kind of guy, and that’s great for a coach to be that type of way.”

Not hard to see what Brinkley is really saying. Clearly, he had some problems with the way Frazier went about his business.

Brinkley was first promoted to the starting Mike spot under Frazier in 2012, so he owes Frazier a debt of gratitude for that at least. But as that season progressed, it became clear that Frazier and DC Alan Williams were not thrilled with Brinkley’s performance in their Tampa 2 scheme, and that led to issues.

Brinkley was eventually relieved of nickel linebacker duties in favor of Erin Henderson, who frankly wasn’t much better. Despite the lack of Mike linebacker depth on the roster, Jasper was allowed to walk after 2012.

Just going by his remarks, it seems there may have been a lack of “up-front” communication between him and Frazier throughout that process. Brinkley is certainly not the first player to suggest that Frazier was not always as forthcoming as he should have been when dealing with personnel.

Mike Zimmer, it appears, does not have any such problems when it comes to communication. And Brinkley for one finds this refreshing.

So there’s double good news for Jasper Brinkley in his second stint in Minnesota: He won’t have to drop with tight ends in the Tampa 2 anymore, and he won’t have to worry about his coach jerking him around.

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