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Brinkley Balances Vikings Defense Vs. Bengals

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 14, 2009 – 2:14 pm

There are several hurdles to overcome when a team is forced to replace a starter, and the task becomes a little more difficult when the replacement is a 1st-time starter.

Such was the case for the Vikings on Sunday against Cincinnati. With middle LB E.J. Henderson lost for the season due to a broken leg, the Vikings turned to 5th round pick Jasper Brinkley to fill the role in the middle.

Adding another level of difficulty to the Vikings defensive challenge was the fact that the Bengals employ an unusual offensive mechanism that adds an extra responsibility to the middle LB’s job. On several occasions Sunday, the Bengals inserted into the lineup an extra offensive tackle, which created an unbalanced offensive formation in the run-heavy offensive attack.

As if replacing the heart and soul of the defense wasn’t hard enough already, Brinkley now had to deal with matching his teammates up against an odd formation while also positioning himself to replace the production Henderson provided on a weekly basis.

But when the dust settled and the clock said 00:00, the Vikings were on the right end of a 30-10 outcome. Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said on Monday that Brinkley did a good job of handling the “mental gymnastics” and that the rookie LB also provided a physical presence on defense.

“He did a great job I thought in both against a very difficult group to play against just because of all the extra linemen that they had in the game,” Childress added. “You have to do some different things when people are unbalanced. First of all, it’s coming out of the huddle at you. It’s visual recognition and identification. They’re always attempting to deceive when they do that, and it has to happen very quickly where you’re setting the defense, getting people moved if they didn’t hear you, flipping people over, linebackers flipping sides, and then playing the game.”

Brinkley played primarily in the Vikings base package – in the 4-3 defensive alignment on most 1st and 2nd downs. He registered 3 tackles and contributed significantly to a defensive effort that held the Bengals to just 210 net yards.

“It’s a tough situation to come into,” said LB Ben Leber after the game. “Obviously, he was probably anxious and nervous. I thought he performed pretty well coming in and making the calls in base (defense), and going downhill and making some hits.”


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13 Responses to “Brinkley Balances Vikings Defense Vs. Bengals”

  1. By Ramesses2@comcast.net on Dec 14, 2009 | Reply

    Even though Harvin is great… when he plays, what good is a guy who repeatedly cannot be available? And, let’s just dump Berrian and cut our losses.

  2. By VikingsDefenseFan on Dec 14, 2009 | Reply

    Wait a second Ramesses. Repeatedly not available? What are you talking about? I really want to know. From what I know he’s been at every game except vs. the Bengals… So by all means, what are you talking about? Secondly.. Dump Berrian? Uhh dude, dump yourself. He contributes more than what his mistakes cost. I don’t think I want to see a reply from you. You sound like a Bears fan.

  3. By VikingsDefenseFan on Dec 14, 2009 | Reply

    Wait a second Ramesses. Repeatedly not available? What are you talking about? I really want to know. From what I know he’s been at every game except vs. the Bengals… So by all means, what are you talking about? Secondly.. Dump Berrian? Uhh dude, dump yourself. He contributes more than what his mistakes cost. I don’t think I want to see a reply from you. You sound like a Bears fan.

  4. By Greg on Dec 14, 2009 | Reply

    A guy is a lot of good when he adds the explosive element that Harvin does. Plus, you say repeatedly like it has been a huge problem this season…

  5. By VikingsDefenseFan on Dec 14, 2009 | Reply

    Not to get off subject or anything, this is a Jasper Brinkley post after all. Who by the way I think did a heck of a job filling in for EJ Henderson. He definitely demonstrated he is a force out on the field. Also great work by Erin Henderson making 2 special teams tackles. I can’t wait to see more of both these guys.

  6. By vikefan4eva on Dec 14, 2009 | Reply

    Harvin is awesome! He is only a rookie and will probably named rookie of year I don’t know what your smoking Ramesses, but he’s the future.

  7. By w myers on Dec 14, 2009 | Reply

    Anyone know what the probability of EJ ever playing again???
    Fingers crossed

  8. By VikingsDefenseFan on Dec 14, 2009 | Reply

    From what I hear, EJ’s injury is a recoverable one. So hopefully there’s more Football to be had in the future.

  9. By colin ervin on Dec 14, 2009 | Reply

    Who ever ramesses is heres some advice for you. Everyone will think your smart if you don’t talk or make any kind of comment

  10. By rap99 on Dec 14, 2009 | Reply

    RAMESSES, 08 is that you? brinkley did an ok job in his first start, i think he will improve as he gets experience. does anyone think we will not miss EJ?

  11. By wdnemesis on Dec 15, 2009 | Reply

    We will get hurt for not having him, but can the new guy we just got get the experience he needs to play with the big dogs in the playoffs? I also have to add that that leg injury looked as if his leg broke in two at the knee cap, I hope he will return but that looked nasty. I also have to add that we need to establish an all around game and throw the better teams off our game plan. I think we got the most dangerous offense in the NFL if the plays are called right to confuse the other teams.

  12. By GJ on Dec 15, 2009 | Reply

    Don’t worry about Percy. He’ll be ready. Ever had a migraine? Hope that you don’t. When the stage is large like high school football championships, 2 BCS titles, 5 gold medals at state track meet, and now the playoffs, get ready to be amazed.

  13. By PAVikesFan on Dec 15, 2009 | Reply

    Dump Berrian??…Ok, he’s not having his best year, but, he’s a deep threat, he’s had a nagging hammy all year, which has limited all year, but, he stretches the defense…Brinkley did OK, there were a couple of times where he missed tackles, and Benson chalked a couple of big runs, and he had trouble getting off some blocks…? is, we can get by without him for now, but will it hurt us in the playoffs?…thta will be the bigger ?…And, Antoine Winfield played like he was possessed, he was awesome

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