MANKATO, Minn. The past year for Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jasper Brinkley has been filled with personal trials.
Brinkley entered training camp last year vying for a starting job at outside linebacker only to be sidelined with hip pain that led to eventual surgery and kept him out the entire season. Returning from hip surgery was a long, arduous process. And he didn't feel truly healthy until training camp rolled around this season.
Just a few days into training camp came the news that receiver O.J. Murdock had committed suicide. Murdock was a former teammate of Brinkley's at South Carolina, the second former teammate to have committed suicide. Another former Gamecocks receiver, Kenny McKinley, killed himself two years ago.
Brinkley was stunned by the news, visible even a few days later. He continued with his daily life, going through training camp practices and trying to prove he deserves to start at middle linebacker for Minnesota. But it brings his personal battles into pe...