EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Jasper Brinkley has been set as the Minnesota Vikings' starting middle linebacker since the offseason, but he might have finally won the job in Friday's third preseason game.
Minnesota didn't add veteran insurance in case Brinkley was slow to develop after missing all of last season after hip surgery. The starting job has been Brinkley's to lose since the team decided not to re-sign E.J. Henderson in the offseason.
Yet, the Vikings had grown cautious of Brinkley's health and his ability to return confident from the injuries. Friday's game against the San Diego Chargers --when he had four tackles and two sacks -- was crucial to regaining the coaches' confidence in him, as much as it was in regaining confidence in himself.
"Very important," coach Leslie Frazier said. "It's a good point, because we were concerned going into the preseason about his health and what has happened over the last year. So, to see him incrementally get better as time has gone on and the...