Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Jasper Brinkley's run as Minnesota's starting middle linebacker may be a one-and-done scenario should the Vikings tab a MLB in the first round.
When observing Jasper Brinkley's 2012 stats one stands out from the rest: 97 tackles.
On face value that's a great total. The 100-tackle mark is a plateau many throughout the league shoot for and never obtain. Brinkley nearly reached it after his first full season as a starter.
He fell short, though, and left many Viking fans wondering if he's a long-term solution at the position.
Brinkley's known as a run-stuffing linebacker, but that wasn't always the case in 2012. His underwhelming play against the run was part of the reason the defense finished outside the top 10 against the run relative to yards allowed per game (105.8 yards).
His poor play helped the opposition rush for over 100 yards seven times in eight games from Week 6 to Week 14.
Brinkley (27 years old and will turn 28 in July) isn't a spring chicken. If he doesn't get it now, then 2013 is likely his last shot to prove himself a difference maker.
Minnesota may not want to take a chance on him in 2013 and beyond.
Drafting a player like Georgia's Alec Ogletree, who is projected to go roughly around where Minnesota picks in the first round should he choose to declare, could help solidify the defense if he can grasp the NFL game quickly.