Although the Minnesota brass is optimistic that middle linebacker E.J. Henderson will make a full recovery from a fractured femur, and Henderson himself believes he'll be ready to go by training camp, the Vikings are planning as though Henderson won't be available for the season opener in New Orleans. That means second-year man Jasper Brinkley has been working with the first-team defense.
"We're proceeding right now as if 'Jasp' is going to be the middle linebacker," Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. "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."
Minnesota is fourth in 4for4's current defensive rankings, and will be an excellent pick regardless of if Brinkley or Henderson is in there. Brinkley is useful, but Henderson is the better overall player, and a better IDP player.