Though middle linebacker E.J. Henderson says he’ll be “ready to rock” for training camp after suffering a gruesome broken leg in December, the Vikings currently assume Jasper Brinkley will be the starter when the season opens in September.
“We’re proceeding right now as if ‘Jasp’ is going to be the middle
linebacker,” defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said Friday, per Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com. “E.J. hasn’t really gone out and done any
drills with us. So, you can’t say that he’s going to be ready when we
get ready to play the Saints.
“If it happens, we all would be extremely happy. But right now, we’re
looking at Jasper being that guy.”
Brinkley, a rookie in 2009, played well down the stretch. At some point, however, he’ll likely yield to Henderson.
“Just seeing the progress he’s made, I’m really encouraged and believing
that he’s going to be back out playing again,” Frazier said of Henderson. “But originally, I was
concerned, whether or not we had seen his potential last football game
as a Viking.”
Still, with Henderson turning 30 later this year, it could be that Brinkley eventually will get the nod on a full-time basis.