Cowboys Reportedly Sign LB Jasper Brinkley to Two-Year Deal


We currently have no idea who the Vikings’ starting Mike linebacker will be in 2015, but we know who it won’t be: Jasper Brinkley.

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The Vikings’ 2014 starter at MLB has left Minnesota to sign a two-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys according to ESPN.

The 29-year-old Brinkley was reportedly looking to return to Minnesota but the Vikings evidently did not feel his services were needed. Despite being maligned by fans, Brinkley was listed as the #8 free agent linebacker by Pro Football Focus.

Last year in his second stint with Minnesota, Brinkley finished with 54 tackles, 1 sack and 1 forced fumble in 471 snaps. His value as a run defending Mike was evident but equally evident was his complete lack of value as a pass defender.

If you want someone to run downhill and make a tackle, Brinkley can do it. If you’re looking for versatility, lateral range or coverage skill? Not so much.

The Vikings apparently did not believe it was worth it bringing back Brinkley as a two-down Mike and will look elsewhere for someone to man that position.

In-house options to replace Brinkley are sparse to say the least. Audie Cole is a fan favorite but figures more as an outside backer. Michael Mauti has had a couple of years to demonstrate his value and so far only has stepped up as a special teams thumper.

Out-of-house options could include free agent Brandon Spikes, who is two years younger than Jasper Brinkley and a better player, though probably not someone you want to keep out there in the nickel.

The list of potential draft prospects at the position includes Michigan’s Jake Ryan, whom Rick Spielman got a good look at yesterday when the GM attended Michigan’s pro day.

The Vikings also reportedly took a good look at Clemson linebacker Stephone Anthony. Miami’s Denzel Perryman is another name that has come up in discussion.

Whoever the Vikings ultimately pick up to play the Mike, let’s hope the player proves to be a long-term solution at the position and not another stopgap. The franchise has been on the MLB merry-go-round for far too long.

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