Jasper Brinkley made the decision to head to the southwest this offseason, after spending the first four years of his career with the Minnesota Vikings. Brinkley joined the Arizona Cardinals as an unrestricted free agent, signing a two-year deal worth $3.5 million.
Brinkley started 15 games a year ago in Minnesota, and had himself a pretty solid 2012 campaign. Playing middle linebacker, he racked up 97 total tackles and three forced fumbles. It was by far the best season of his career, as playing behind E.J. Henderson, and injuries limited him during his first three years.
So with his stock at an all-time high, Brinkley joined up with a pretty solid defense in Arizona. The Cardinals-D was one of the few bright spots for an otherwise dismal team in 2012. Brinkley just adds to the quality of the unit, giving the team another reliable linebacker.
As of right now he’s penciled in to start for the Cardinals in 2013, but some are predicting that second round draft pick Kevin Minter could take his place before the end of the season. Minter is going to get his share of playing time right away in 2013, mainly because of the absence of Daryl Washington due to suspension.
Minter seems to be the guy the Cardinals have pegged for the future of the ILB position, so Brinkley could very well just be on the roster for depth and veteran support. But, it still doesn’t mean he can’t make the team’s decision to go to Minter, a very difficult one.
While Brinkley may not end up starting all 16 games this season, he’ll be in the starting lineup come week one.
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