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Jasper Brinkley recorded 97 tackles in his first season as Minnesota's middle lineabcker.
The keys to the defense were handed to Jasper Brinkley last season after three seasons serving as E.J. Henderson's backup.
Minnesota was expecting to see the same run-stuffing skills from Brinkley that it got from Henderson over the previous five seasons with similar limited abilities in pass coverage.
The limited pass coverage skills were evident, but the regressed play against the run was unexpected.
Brinkley still recorded nearly 100 tackles in his first season as the starter (finished with 97), but given the favorable setup of the defense for the middle linebacker to make plays that total should have been greater.
Too many times Brinkley allowed himself to get too easily blocked or gave bad pursuit. That's unacceptable.
Brinkley has only been a starter for one year and has three healthy seasons of experience to his name. He's not going to be a hot commodity on the market, and should be able to be retained at a reasonable price.
Minnesota should strongly look at Georgia's Alec Ogletree if he's available at No. 23, but bringing back Brinkley would be a smart move.
He's only been a starter one year and will be 28 in July, which means his best years should be right in front of him. Give him a one or two-year deal with heavy incentives.